The Reishi Collection by luxury hatmaker Nick Fouquet is made with sustainably sourced mycelium
inding viable alternatives to leather can be difficult. Leather is a durable material that is able to withstand a lot of wear and tear, making it an ideal choice for high-end fashion garments. Synthetic leathers often lack the same level of durability, meaning they may need to be replaced more frequently. In addition, many plastic-based leather alternatives are not biodegradable, meaning they will sit in landfill for centuries after they have been discarded. As a result, brands are faced with a difficult choice: use traditional leather and contribute to animal cruelty and environmental degradation, or use plastic-based alternatives that may cause further harm to the environment.
As the world becomes increasingly conscious of the environmental and animal welfare issues associated with leather production, many brands are searching for non-plastic sustainable alternatives. MycoWorks is one company that is leading the way in this area, with the commercial launch of fashion items made with its flagship mycelium material – called ‘Reishi’. The material has been used to make ‘The Reishi Collection’ by luxury hatmaker Nick Fouquet.
MycoWorks is based in San Francisco and its material is made from mycelium, the extensive root structures of fungi. The material is strong, flexible, and 100 per cent plastic free, making it an ideal substitute for leather in a variety of applications. In addition to being environmentally friendly, mycelium is also cheaper and easier to produce than leather.
The new collection includes the Reishi Boletus, Coprinus, and Morchella hats, all of which are made with mycelium that has been sustainably sourced from Mushroom Mountain in South Carolina. According to MycoWorks, the material matches the performance of the highest quality animal leathers with lower environmental impact.
MycoWorks represents a growing trend in plant-based leather alternatives. Among the innovations recently spotted by Springwise is Inversa, an exotic leather made from lionfish, a species that is highly invasive. Another startup, Polybion, specialises in organic, vegan leather made from local sources of industrial fruit waste.