Lab To Body – New Kid On The Block!September 09, 2021
Consumer buying habits have shifted dramatically in recent years. Add the global pandemic to the mix; customer interest in sustainability and eco-responsibility has soared to new heights. It is, therefore, prudent for us in the fashion business to use this movement as a catalyst for developing new materials.
Fashion is one of the most harmful industries, least policed; making it necessary to self-regulate. I aspire to have a guilt-free brand which is why I refuse to use leather in my collection.
Over the past few months, the fashion world is tripping on two buzzwords: ‘mycelium’ and ‘mushroom’.
Fungi are at the forefront of this new fashion technology. Mushrooms, long a fashionable motif; provide both conceptual inspiration and innovative raw materials.
In his book Entangles Life: How fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our future, Merlin Sheldrake says, “Many of the most dramatic events on earth have been – and continue to be – a result of fungal activity.’’
The demand for a natural substitute for leather has existed for at least a decade. Finally, the quality has caught up!
What is this wonder material, being heralded as the answer to one of fashion’s big problems?
Mycelium is the network of threads of a fungus, also called the root of the mushroom. It grows beneath mushrooms and fungi, connecting every living plant and tree and facilitating the exchange of nutrients.
There are many other good reasons for using mycelium fabric in the future. Fabrics are non-toxic, waterproof, and fire-resistant. They can be made thin for use in garments or thick for packaging, making them remarkably flexible and strong. Mycelium can essentially be grown in moulds to any shape.
Source: Layers of forest floor, Financial Times
As a brand, I would like to get to the point of using both mushroom fabrics and packaging. At DinaUdupa, it is about creating and packaging my design values and advocating a plastic-free future.
My interest in mushrooms stems from a desire to reconnect with the outside world, especially post lockdown. For me, luxury encompasses sensuality and aesthetics. I love mycelium’s poetic story of harmony, connection, and balance and its ability to transform the way we live on earth. It is beautiful to look at nature to see how it connects in a very similar way to how we communicate.
I can’t wait for Stella McCartney’s mushroom leather products, billed as low-impact alternatives to animal hides, to go mainstream. In effect giving small brands like myself the affordability to be able to use mycelium in the future.
Source: Stella McCartney
In the words of fashion designer Rahul Mishra, ‘’Mushrooms create rebirth in a real sense. They’re a masterpiece of engineering all on their own.” True that!!
The hope is for these alternative materials to inspire us to rethink our relationship with the outside world and let nature guide our fashion choices.