One step alternate

New York Fashion Week is here and Sustainability is expected to be the big theme of the year..while looking forward to what fashion week has in store for us, I notice the shift has already begun, where designers are finding alternate solution that hopefully would probably not cause another bushfire, or rainforest fire!

Of organic yarns, to plant based fabrics, upcycling, reusing, we have seen a lot in the world of fabrics already happening. Leather is another such material that the fashion industry is incomplete without; But after nearly a decade in development the company Reishi launched its “fine mycelium,” a groundbreaking, fungus-grown material that looks, feels, and even smells like leather.

Reisi, an alterate to leather

Founder Philip Ross started experimenting with living materials 20 years ago as an artist and chef, and eventually invented a particular method of manipulating mycelium cells to grow, weave together, and form specific shapes. A few years ago, he teamed up with the sustainable materials company MycoWorks and hired scientist Matt Scullin to transform his invention into a material the fashion industry could use. Working with fashion brands to understand their specifications for ready-to-wear, handbags, and shoes, they can change the growth conditions to make the Reishi thinner or thicker, denser or less dense, and softer, making it a perfect alternate for leather.

The surface of the material is also treated to look like leather

Pinatex is made out of wasted pineapple leaves

Infact, Piñatex or pineapple leather has been in the scenario for quite sometime. Made from pineapple leaves, it doesn’t have to use any land, water, pesticides, fertilizers. It is upscaling a waste product. Infact pineapple leaves would normally be wasted, turning them into leather is an extra source of income for farmers. After farmers take the first step in processing the leaves, separating the long fibers, they also end up with biomass that can be used as fertilizer back in the pineapple fields.

Hugo Boss, was one of the first designers to use Pinatex in a range of limited edition shoes

Laura Strambi uses metallic pineapple textiles to make her collection

The young, the emerging and the established, the industry is definitely headed one step alternate and two steps ahead!

-Nikita Shah

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