Replacing Cow Leather With Mushroom Leather

There has been increased biotech attempts to replace leather from cattle with a more sustainable biotech alternative. Consumers are always attracted and addicted to the luxurious feel and durability of leather. Most of them do not know that cows are costly to feed and hide tanning is toxic. Modern Meadow Company has attempted to grow leather directly from skin cells.

 

Phil Ross is the founder of Mycoworks. His team has done a fantastic job by growing leather from mycelium, the dense root structure in mushrooms. Ross said that mycelium is the skin of the mushrooms. Ross and his team grow mycelia under varying conditions of humidity and temperature. He then tans the resulting fungal mat into leather that looks and feels similar to cow skin. Ross stated that leather from mycelium has a smaller impact on environmental footprint and needs less energy than cow leather. Moreover, the leather is also biodegradable.

 

Ross stated that an advantage of leather from mushrooms is that it has the plasticity that is not present in animal hide. Ross continued by saying that his work is more appreciated in the business world than in the art world. At the Indie Bio accelerator in San Francisco in July, the Chief Executive Officer of Mycoworks pulled out a six-foot leather hide on stage. Sophia Wong could barely hold it over his head. Ross and Wong are likely to start a company in the future. Wong has a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California.

 

Replacing Cow Leather With Mushroom Leather

There has been increased biotech attempts to replace leather from cattle with a more sustainable biotech alternative. Consumers are always attracted and addicted to the luxurious feel and durability of leather. Most of them do not know that cows are costly to feed and hide tanning is toxic. Modern Meadow Company has attempted to grow leather directly from skin cells.

 

Phil Ross is the founder of Mycoworks. His team has done a fantastic job by growing leather from mycelium, the dense root structure in mushrooms. Ross said that mycelium is the skin of the mushrooms. Ross and his team grow mycelia under varying conditions of humidity and temperature. He then tans the resulting fungal mat into leather that looks and feels similar to cow skin. Ross stated that leather from mycelium has a smaller impact on environmental footprint and needs less energy than cow leather. Moreover, the leather is also biodegradable.

 

Ross stated that an advantage of leather from mushrooms is that it has the plasticity that is not present in animal hide. Ross continued by saying that his work is more appreciated in the business world than in the art world. At the Indie Bio accelerator in San Francisco in July, the Chief Executive Officer of Mycoworks pulled out a six-foot leather hide on stage. Sophia Wong could barely hold it over his head. Ross and Wong are likely to start a company in the future. Wong has a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California.

 

Mushroom Leather Is Among Fashion’s Newest Eco-Friendly Fabrics

There have been attempts to use plant materials in clothing instead of animal fabrics like fur and leather. Many vegan and eco-friendly clothing companies have succeeded in making fashionable pieces that are safe for the environment, and one of the latest trends in vegan clothing is mushroom leather. Artist Phil Ross is leading the way in this trend and makes clothing and accessories from the skin of the mushroom.

Ross is growing mycelium, or mushroom root structures, in a number of conditions. He and his team want to make the mycelium look like the skin from animals like snakes, ostriches and cows, and claims that making mushroom leather is less labor-intensive than animal leather. Of course, this vegan leather also leaves less of a carbon footprint and is biodegradable.

The tissue of the mushroom can all be manipulated while it’s growing. This means that while the mushroom is incubating it an be manipulated. Fashion designers can add features like hooks and zippers to the vegan leather during the incubation phase, and it’s even possible to change the texture of the material during this phase. Ross shares that the mushroom leather has an elasticity that animal hide doesn’t have, and recently debuted the first mushroom leather wallet from Mycoworks.

Mycoworks is an example of how artistry can inspire an industry. Ross asserts that this “artist survival strategy” is actually more valued in the corporate world than in the art community.

Ross has been making clothing and accessories from mycelia for almost three decades, and initially became interested in reichi mushrooms because of their health benefits. However, he quickly discovered that he could grow sculptures by feeding mushrooms waste materials and sawdust, and has even created furniture from mycelia.