Consumers of today are more mindful about their purchases than ever before. Sustainable and environmental-friendly products are becoming increasingly popular for all the right reasons. And the most prominent brands are shifting towards sustainable alternatives.
Meanwhile, leather manufacturers in London and throughout UK have also been trying to address these problems. They are striving to create more sustainable and eco-friendly supply chains.
We’re witnessing the implementation of responsible manufacturing interventions to reduce resource usage during production.
One such intervention, that technological advancements have enabled, is that of sustainable alternatives to animal hide-based leather clothing. Using raw materials like mushrooms and pineapples, leather manufacturers are producing sustainable alternatives to animal hide-based leather.
These alternatives are in no way inferior to animal-hide-based leather in terms of quality, durability, and aesthetics. And are thus gaining popularity in the leather industry.
Through this article, we’ll introduce you to these sustainable leather alternatives that are now coming to the fore- mushroom leather, in particular.
We’ll go through how mushroom leather is manufactured along with its uses. Plus whether or not it’s an effective alternative to animal hide-based leather.
The Rise Of Mushroom Leather
Stella McCartney is one of the first fashion brands that has come up with a sustainable luxury clothing line made from a material called Mylo.
Mylo is a leather alternative grown from the mushroom.
Mylo as a material is designed to have a minimal environmental impact. It helps in saving water, reducing carbon footprint, and protecting vital ecosystems like the Amazon from deforestation.
To put things into perspective, consider this –
- It requires 17,000 litres of water to produce a kilogram of leather.
- Animal agriculture accounts for approximately 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions and stands responsible for driving the destruction of vital ecosystems.
- 70-80% of the Amazon’s deforested area is now used for cattle pastures.
Mylo, on the other hand, is not petroleum-based, unlike synthetic leathers, meaning that more fossil fuels can be kept in the ground, and less plastic is deposited into landfills and oceans.
Additionally, with mycelium (renewable underground root system of fungi) as its primary constituent, Mylo is a leather alternative that paves the way for the next generation of clothing materials.
How Is Mushroom Leather Made?
The main constituent of mushroom leather or Mylo is mycelium, a material grown in a controlled environment.
- Mycelium spores are fed a mixture of sawdust and other organic material that helps mycelium grow into a thick sheet.
- Further, environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity in the mycelium’s environment contribute to the mycelium’s growth and ultimately affect the quality of the mushroom leather.
- Spores of mycelia and the nutrient-rich sawdust mixture are placed on a large mat, where it grows into a thick, foam-like substance.
- Once the mycelium is harvested, the leftover byproducts are composted.
- The resulting sheet of mycelium is then processed and dyed to become Mylo material for use as an alternative to animal leather or synthetic leather in the fashion industry.
The benefits of producing mushroom leather are impressive. For starters, given that it’s manufactured in a controlled environment in which it’s manufactured, mushroom leather is highly supple, breathable, durable, and water repellent. However, since this technology is relatively new, Mylo is more expensive than other types of vegan leather out there.
Is Mushroom Leather Sustainable Compared to Animal and Synthetic-Based Leathers?
Unlike animal hide-based leather, making Mylo material doesn’t involve raising livestock. Its main constituent, mycelium, is derived from the roots of fungi that can be grown in controlled environments. Thus, it isn’t as resource-intensive as the production of animal hide-based leather and is a more sustainable alternative to leather in the times to come.
Additionally, in terms of production time, the mycelia grown for Mylo is produced within days, whereas raising livestock for animal hide-based leather can take multiple years.
In comparison to other synthetic leathers that are often made from polyurethane or have a PVC coating to mimic the feel of natural leather, Mylo is not petroleum-based. This makes Mylo’s processing and manufacturing much more environmentally friendly than its counterparts.
Leather as a material is always in high demand. To keep the leather industry afloat, leather businesses and manufacturers will have to shift to more sustainable materials and practices. We, as consumers, also play an essential part in the supply chain. And by switching to a more environmental-friendly alternative to animal hide-based leather, we’ll help save the environment.
The rise of a plethora of sustainable vegan leather options that mimic the properties of leather without impacting the environment has been a welcome change to the leather industry.
Looking for More?
At CreateLab, we offer our leather production services in the UK for your vegan leather goods. With years of expertise in the leather industry, we’re pioneers in crafting innovative premium designs out of leather.
Furthermore, we help leather businesses produce luxurious designs and leather products for their business. Our years of experience in the leather industry help us find the sweet balance between functionality and style.
Going forward, sustainable leather is a must for fashion industry. Especially given the detrimental effects of today’s manufacturing practices on the environment. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more vegan leather products in the near future. Thanks to plant-based leathers that could change the faux leather market for good!