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Stella McCartney becomes first designer to make clothes from mushroom leather

The new material is believed to have a significantly reduced impact on the environment.

Ellie Abraham
Thursday 18 March 2021 11:48 GMT
At Paris Fashion Week in 2019
At Paris Fashion Week in 2019 (Getty)

Stella McCartney has become the first designer to create garments made from mushroom leather.

The British designer, who has long been a proponent of fur-free and leather-free collections, has teamed up with Bolt Threads - the company behind the new mushroom-based material - to create the new items.

The material, known as Mylo™️, was created by scientists from Bolt Threads who discovered the perfect conditions in which the vegetative part of a fungus (mycelium) grows on the forest floor and replicated that in a lab. The company then combined this with mulch, air and water to produce the new material that is soft yet durable, and, most notably, renewable.

It was announced in October 2020 that McCartney was one of several brands working alongside Mylo and now their partnership has come to fruition with the launch of two garments.

McCartney’s exclusive garments have been modelled by animal rights activist Paris Jackson for the launch and include a pair of black balloon-leg trousers and a structured bodice. The pieces were crafted using the mushroom-based leather material as well as recycled nylon scuba.

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The new material is believed to have a significantly reduced impact on the environment. Unlike conventional animal-based leathers, the brand new process means this material can be produced in a matter of days and uses much less water in the process (at current, 17,000 litres of water are used in the making of 1kg of animal-based leathers). Other synthetic leathers are petroleum-based, but Mylo is not, meaning fewer fossil fuels are used in the state-of-the-art production process.

At present, neither of these unique garments are for sale, but McCartney is reportedly planning to incorporate the product in upcoming collections. Speaking about the revolutionary material, the designer said she believes such products are the future of sustainable fashion:

“I believe the Stella community should never have to compromise luxury desirability for sustainability, and Mylo™️ allows us to make that a reality.”

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