In search for the next sustainable material, brands are continuously exploring nature’s gifts, from mushrooms to grapes.
In its Fall Winter 2021 collection, Hermès introduced the Victoria bag. It is made out of Sylvania, a leathery fabric created from mycelium, which is the vegetative part of a fungus. It is the world’s first object made with Fine Mycelium, a patented technology by biotech company MycoWorks that “enhances mycelium as it grows.”
“A collaboration three years in the making, Sylvania is the result of a shared vision for the growing future of materials and a quest to unlock new design possibilities,” MycoWorks CEO Matt Sculin says in a press release. “[It] represents how nature and biotechnology can work in concert to create a material with the highest standards of quality.”
Other brands apart from the French luxury goods maker echoes this sentiment and has been exploring materials derived from living microorganisms. Get to know them here, as well as how they have been using such material.
In collaboration with Bolt Threads, also a mycelium leather maker, Stella McCartney has created a matching bustier top and utilitarian trousers.
The alternative leather, called Mylo, is described as “remarkably similar to animal products, but “with fewer environmental impacts” as it is not petroleum-based—or made from excessive fossil fuels—unlike most synthetic options.
The garments are currently not on sale, but the brand says it “embodies the potential of this next-generation material,” which could “pave the way for future commercial offerings.”
Mushroom leather is also the key material of Lululemon’s new yoga mat. It is, again, a collaboration with Bolt Threads, such mat is the “first-of-its-kind” for yoga practitioners.
“From the earth for your practice, the products were developed by the brand’s Accessories Design team,” the brand writes in an Instagram post. “[It is] made entirely from undyed Mylo and engineered with 3D zoned alignment patterns woven together to complement the placement of hands and feet during a practice.”
The release also includes a yoga mat bag and a duffel bag for essentials, also made out of Mylo, all of which will be available for purchase in early 2022.
For its new sneakers collection, “inspired by the impact that basketball had on street culture and style,” Italian luxury fashion house Gucci uses Demetra, its own Tuscany-produced animal-free material.
“[It is the brand’s] groundbreaking material defined by quality, softness, durability, and scalability with an eco-friendly ethos,” Gucci writes in an Instagram post. “Demetra was developed after two years of in-house research.”
The vegan collection, which includes trainers ($950) named Basket, New Ace, and Rhyton, contain 77 percent plant-based raw materials. The upper and part of the linings feature Demetra, while the rest contain organic cotton, recycled steel, and recycled polyester.
Le Coq Sportif
From the grapevine comes an alternative leather material and Le Coq Sportif has used it in one of their shoe releases.
The sneakers, which come in classic and retro runner styles, feature a grape leather upper and a cork insole by Vegea, who sources and develops vegan leather from wine industry leftovers.
In collaboration with actress and sustainability advocate Amber Valleta, the Karl Lagerfeld brand has come up with an eco-friendly bag collection.
All the accessories are made out of cactus leather by a Mexico-based company Deserto. The cactus used is native to the region and requires no deforestation or irrigation. It is also cultivated with no chemicals and is colored with organic pigments.
“This collaboration shows that we don’t have to sacrifice great style to make responsibly made fashion,” Valletta says in a promotional Instagram post.
Banner Photo from @StellaMcCartney on IG