The name mushroom makes you think it is a delicious and nutritious food. But recently it has been possible to make different textile products from mushrooms. Mushrooms are eco-friendly material from which biodegradable and sustainable textile fibers can be produced. And it is possible to make fashionable clothes from this organic fiber. It is one of the newest additions to the list of sustainable innovations. This organic fiber is mainly produced from mushroom spores & roots. The fabric made from mushrooms are strong, flexible and durable, also the market demand for this fiber is also very promising as the global demand for sustainable and organic textiles continues to grow.
Garments Made from Mushrooms
It is possible to make garments with mushrooms, did you know that before? Mushrooms are a thing familiar to all of us. Generally, fiber can be produced from the mycelium, mycelium is the fungal and fibrous underground structure of mushrooms. With the technology helping the mycelium to grow into 3D structures depending on the manufacturer’s wishes. Due to the demand for environmentally friendly and sustainable textile fibers, the same technology has been applied to the fashion and textiles. The Dutch fashion designer ‘Aniela Hoitink’ was the first person, who made a fabric called ‘MycoTex’ from mycelium in a lab and use it to make a complete showstopper garment. Which was anti-microbial and suitable for sensitive skin. After Hoitink, British designer ‘Suzanne Lee’ made a jacket from mycelium of mushrooms. From making shoes to bags and fashionable dresses, when it comes to a sustainable material, mycelium has a lot of potential. But first we have to tackle our perception of it.
The Process of Making Cloth from Mushrooms: Bio-Fabrication
The technical process of making fabric from fungus or mushroom is known as bio-fabrication. This process is basically making the fabric from the growing part of micro-organisms like mushroom root. However, the interesting thing is that this process has shown the relationship between fashion and biology, how fashion comes very close to biology. For lab production, different treatments (like lighting, temperature, humidity, essential oils & other organic techniques) have to be applied for the nutrition and growth of the mushrooms with the help of a petri dish. After 2-3 weeks, they are ready for harvest and marinated with another liquid, and then taken out and placed in circular 3D shaped mold. And eventually through drying they are transformed into garments. The advantage of this ‘MycoTex’ fabric is that the garment is made without sewing. So that, this process can reduce production time and costing. Different fungus mycelium can give different appearance and hand feel for the resulting products.
In 2016, English fashion designer “Stella McCartney” made a bag with mushroom leather, but she did not make her debut. After a long period of research, he was able to make clothes with mushroom skin. In her long career of 20 years, she has always tried to make clothes and various fashionable items with natural ingredients. He never tried to make anything out of animal skin. So, after a lot of effort, for the first time he made a black “Bustier and Trousers” as “Milo-Garments” with mushroom skin. Mushroom leather is unique in its vintage look and unbelievably soft in its feel as well. Mushroom fibers are also environment friendly and free from harmful effects.
Characteristics of Mushroom Fiber
This eco-friendly mushroom fiber has some unique properties that are not found in other sustainable fibers. Some of its notable features are:
1) Fabric made from mushroom fiber is non-toxic, waterproof and fire resistant.
2) Clothing made from this fiber is very thin, flexible and comfortable to wear.
3) The ingredients made from this fiber are anti-microbial and suitable for sensitive skin.
4) Mushroom fabric is strong, breathable and durable.
5) Requires less water for production.
6) It is an environment friendly and 100% biodegradable fiber.
Application of Mushroom Fiber
Mushroom fiber can be made into different fashionable products and also artificial skin is made from the mycelium of mushrooms. It is possible to make various things like caps, bags, dresses and jackets by processing the fibrous ingredients of mushrooms. Many are still doing research on this. Currently, various American companies such as Adidas and Lululemon use synthetic leather made from mushrooms and used in their shoes and handbags.
- Ladies bag/purse
- Money bag
- Watch strap
- Jacket etc.
Challenges and Possibilities
The fashion and textile industries are currently in crisis, and neither recycling nor upcycling can prevent environmental pollution proving that, the fashion industry needs new sustainable materials to replace the traditional textile materials. Mushroom fiber shows potential for textile performance characteristics however, it is still in the initial, challenging stages and new fashion for consumers. This fiber is made using completely organic ingredients without using any chemicals, which is one of the eco-friendly fibers. With proper care and planning in our country, the expected results of this fiber can be achieved. Organic fiber can even be an alternative to many types of fiber. There will be market demand for this fiber due to low production cost and low energy requirement. Stella McCartney said the dress is impeccable and eco-friendly in terms of style. According to the United Nations, the fashion industry is responsible for 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions and about 20 percent of global wastewater. In this critical time, fashion designers and inventors are working to find sustainable and eco-friendly alternative fashions. Just then Stella McCartney appeared in an eco-friendly outfit. The future of fashion industry requires both manufacturers and consumers to come up with the same view point to achieve a truly sustainable status.
- From Fungus to Fiber: Developing and Using Mushrooms to Make Textiles | https://greenstitched.com/ , Accessed date: 08/04/21
- Simone Presuss | Sustainable textile innovations: mushroom leather | https://fashionunited.uk/, Accessed date: 05/04/21
- Charlie Bradley Ross | Fabric Made from Fungi | https://www.the-sustainable-fashion-collective.com/, Accessed date: 09/04/21
- Rajkishore Nayak | Sustainable Fibers: Mushroom | https://www.slideshare.net/, Accessed date: 09/04/21