Fungi: Future to Fashion -

In my opinion, every dish tastes better when you add mushrooms to it. Pasta, rice, soup, and clothes. Umm, yes, you read that right, I did say clothes. Mushrooms are a kind of fungi that grow above the ground and appear in various forms. However, who would have ever thought that this very specific kind of food, that several people find questionable because of its class in the environment, could just be the answer to all the ecological problems when it comes to the fashion industry.

From the medicinal industry to the beauty industry, the functions of mushrooms have become broadly diverse over the decade. The roots of this vegetable are made up of Mycelium and has the ability to transform into a strong, durable, and sustainable form of leather that has intrigued the fashion industry. Several start-ups have decided to team up with luxury brands and scientific firms to get involved into this switch from synthetic fibres to alternative ones. 17,000 litres of water is consumed to make 1kg of leather and is also responsible for 14% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. It doesn’t end there; the Amazon jungle is also the most deforested area that is utilised by the massive companies as cattle pastures and goods productions.

Moreover, Mylo/mycelium can be produced in only 2 weeks, compared to years for actual leather, with a much lower carbon footprint as the process to produce these fibres also absorbs carbon from the atmosphere. Besides its textile use, mycelium has also been used to clean up oil spills and is considered the new biodegradable construction material.

Brands like Adidas and Lululemon have now teamed up with Mylo Consortium, a company that focuses on producing alternatives of leather from Mycelium. Hence, the name Mylo. Adidas has launched the first line of shoes made of alternative leather called Stan Smith Mylo which holds the same properties as any other shoes – flexible, durable, and breathable. Mycelium has proven to be less of a burden on the atmosphere and more environmentally friendly compared to petroleum or animal-derived products. Hermès, a company known for its leather bags, has also now made this shift to using mycelium.

Mushrooms have also made it to the Vogue Spring Fashion. From Bella Hadid’s T-shirt to Brent Neale necklaces, mushrooms are sprouting everywhere. They have also made their way into home décor as several mugs and lawn sculptures are influenced by the shape and fibre-like qualities of this fungus.

From skin products that are reishi-laced that help treat inflammation, putting it in coffee to boost immunity and well, its trippy nature to deal with anxiety and depression, this specific vegetable has come a long way. I know, it’s weird talking about mushrooms like this, but what can I say, they might just save the world. The next time you go grocery shopping and spot mushrooms, don’t feel disgusted just because they are some kind of “gross fungus” that grow on the ground. Take a moment, appreciate it and buy them! Let me know if you have any innovative ways where this unique food item can be used according to you.

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