Stella McCartney’s latest garments are made of a material called Mylo, a vegan alternative to leather derived from mushrooms.
A lifelong vegan, McCartney has always been known for her refusal to bow down to the norm and incorporate leather into her designs.
Her fashion brand has never used leather, feathers, fur or skins and has publicly ‘committed to never compromising on desirability or sustainability’.
While it’s true that McCartney is passionate about animals and their welfare, she has also criticised the use of leather due to the environmental damage that creating it inflicts.
She once told Vogue: ‘People really don’t want to talk about the fact that the fashion industry’s biggest impact is its use of leather.
‘The animals it kills, the toxins, the chemicals, the cutting down of rain forests, the food and water and electricity it takes to make a leather bag… It’s way more than a synthetic bag.’
So her latest clothing experimentation comes in the form of a certified bio-based ‘un-leather’ grown from mycelium, which comes from fungus.
Technically it’s not straight up ‘mushroom leather’, rather the material is developed from a part of mushrooms.
Amazingly, it can grow on a sheet of sawdust in just two weeks.
Having worked with the scientists behind Mylo, she’s produced two garments – a black bustier and utilitarian trousers. They’re the first ever garments to be created in the fashion industry using this material.
They aren’t for sale, but give a flavour of what consumers could see in the future and the materials that McCartney could be pioneering.
Though, she isn’t the first to dabble into a new generation of mushroom leathers, as Hermès has developed a mushroom-derived leather called Sylvania which is also made up of mycelium.
The new sustainable fabric will make its debut on the Victoria travel bag come late 2021.
Perhaps this is the future of fashion as the industry is increasingly being held accountable for its impact on the environment.
McCartney told Vogue in a separate interview that she hopes this material will ‘replace leather’ as it will ‘stand shoulder to shoulder with the real thing’.
Mylo is vegetable-tanned to make it similar to the sensorial experience of real leather.
Though it’s taken some time to get it right – initially McCartney admitted it felt ‘quite stiff’ and that it wasn’t possible to make the material in a large enough size for trousers.
But now it’s possible to do this and even vary the texture, for example to pebbled.
Stella McCartney as a brand says the material is ‘remarkably similar to animal products with fewer environmental impacts, it is also not petroleum-based unlike most current synthetic options – meaning more fossil fuels can be kept in the ground and less plastic is deposited into landfills and oceans.’
Mycelium, ‘the infinitely renewable underground root system of mushrooms’, might just become the next big thing to claim fashion development.
Credit: Original article published here.