When humanity is looking for a vegan alternative to real leather, eyes turn to a fungus. Research into material development has been going on for many decades. The properties of animal leather are taken up and it is looked at which vegan products can replace it.
Many brands, such as McCartney, Hermés and Adidas.
We are talking about mushrooms, which are either grown in a laboratory or on forest land. The vegan mushroom leather is based on mycelium. Mycelium is a network of wood fibres that grows underground and is not visible at first glance. After harvesting, the mycelium is mixed with water and mashed. Furthermore, this mass is pressed so that a leather-like structure is created. The great advantage here is that the mushrooms can be grown and harvested anywhere and thus the material that is produced can be manufactured anywhere in the world.
Compared to animal leather, mycelium is ready for harvesting within a few weeks.
As we have already learned, the basis of mushroom leather can be produced anywhere. Furthermore, the growth of the fungus can be influenced by humidity and temperature. It must be neither too warm nor too cold. The mushrooms feel most comfortable at a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius.
Another plus point is the reduction in waste with this vegan alternative.
The answer to the question why the industry should go for vegan leather is simple. Genuine leather is more than just a waste product in the meat industry. The animals that live there in poor factory farming suffer and are killed. In addition, the tanning process is extremely harmful to the environment. Probably the only advantage of real leather is its durability and high breathability.
In order to do without animal products, vegan leather is increasingly being used. Vegan leather uses neither animal skins as raw material nor animal bones as adhesives. However, vegan leather can be harmful to humans and the environment, as the products are not biodegradable and substances that are harmful to the environment and health are used in the production process.
Practically, vegan leather is easy to care for and waterproof. For soft surfaces, wait until the dirt has dried. Then brush it off gently. If stubborn stains have appeared on the bag, they can be removed with a damp cloth and mild soap.
There are already companies, such as MYLO, Ecovative and Myco Works, that produce the vegan leather from mushrooms. The Californian company MYLO works with a mycelium that is produced in a laboratory. The exact price is unclear and production is limited. According to the manufacturers, it has the haptic properties of animal leather and behaves identically in the wearing process. However, MYLO is not yet biodegradable and, due to a PVC coating, not yet 100% plastic-free. Therefore, the products are not yet available for purchase, as they are in a testing phase to observe the revolution and convince customers to buy bags or clothes of a vegan alternative.
That being said, mushroom leather is a promising option to replace animal leather products. The ease of cultivation, the speed of breeding and the low carbon footprint in the world all speak in favour of the material. As more and more companies incorporate mushroom leather into their collections, mushroom leather will take its rightful place in the fashion world.