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Natural leather and plastic alternative

Swatches | May 1, 2022 | By:

Grown in only nine days, Forager pure mycelium hides have naturally high tensile strength, tear resistance, and durability equal to animal leathers. Photo: Ecovative

Ecovative, the mycelium technology company, has teamed with Vivobarefoot, makers of sustainable footwear, and PANGAIA, a materials science innovator. The trio will join the Fashion for Good Cooperative to co-develop custom mycelium materials for use in their respective footwear and fashion products. 

Ecovative has already developed two products for the fashion and footwear industries: Forager™ hides leather alternative, and Forager foams, both made of pure mycelium. The mushroom-based leather alternative is growing in prominence within the sector as companies turn from animal-derived materials. It takes just nine days to grow full-size hides in sheets up to 24 meters in length and 1.8 meters wide. 

“Mycelium has the potential to replace petroleum-based foams that are so commonplace in the footwear industry,” says Galahad Clark, founder at Vivobarefoot. More than 20 billion pairs of shoes are produced annually, with PVC and EVA accounting for roughly 35 percent of the materials involved. Ecovative’s mycelium technology makes it possible to grow sustainable, all-natural materials at scale to replace plastic, styrofoam and leather.

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