The Next Leather Jacket Will Be Made From Mushrooms
Phil Ross, artist and founder of Mycoworks, is growing leather from mycelium, the dense root structure of mushrooms. “It’s actually the skin of the mushroom,” Ross says. By growing mycelia under varying conditions including, temperature and humidity, and then tanning the resulting fungal mat, Ross and his team are able to make leather that looks and feels like cow, snake, and ostrich skins. He says his leather requires less energy, has a smaller environmental footprint than cow leather, and is biodegradable. Simultaneously, the mushroom tissue can be manipulated as it’s growing. That means that while incubating, designers can add hardware like zippers and hooks right into the hide, adhere parts instead of stitching them together, or even change the texture of the material.