PVH Corp. – the parent company of fashion brands Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger – joins the plastic-free vegan leather movement through a partnership with biotechnology company Ecovative. The partnership gives PVH priority access to Ecovatives sustainable vegan leather, which is made from fast-growing mycelium (fungal root system). PVH will also work directly with Ecovative to jointly develop bespoke mycelial materials to bring a range of products to retail, from soft vegan leather accessories and garments to thick, durable belts and shoes.
Ecovative has been producing mycelial materials for partners in North America, Europe and Asia for more than a decade. Earlier this year, Forager launched Hides, a vegan leather based on Ecovative’s second generation mycelial materials to solve sustainability challenges in the fashion industry. The 100 percent bio-based material is grown in panels up to 24 meters (78 feet) long and 1.8 meters (6 feet) wide, and can be tailored to partners’ specific requirements for tensile strength, density and fiber orientation will . While it takes months or years to raise animals for their skins, Ecovative Forager’s rearing process takes only nine days and provides a finished material that is plastic and petroleum free.
The latest innovation from Ecovative is the high-throughput mycelium foundry, which allows the tensile strength, density, and fiber orientation of the mycelium that makes up lining to be modulated. Because of its compact and vertical design, the first farm is designed to produce 3 million square feet of leather-like material annually on just one acre of land.
“We at PVH are excited to research innovations that reduce the environmental impact of our products,” said Rebecca England, VP Innovation, PVH Europe, in a statement. âMycelium gives us the opportunity to respond to growing consumer interest in products with less impact while supporting quality and design that meet the needs and expectations of our consumers – in this case from 100 percent bio-based resources. We look forward to testing and learning together with our partners in order to create scalable, sustainable solutions. “
In addition to PVH, Ecovative has teamed up with BESTSELLER, which owns 20 brands such as ONLY, JACK & JONES and VERO MODA, who will also be exploring the possibilities of its vegan mushroom leather.
Vegan mushroom leather takes over
Ecovative is part of a burgeoning industry of materials makers using mushrooms instead of animal skins to make leather, bringing the biggest fashion brands on board. Last year, fashion giants Adidas, Stella McCartney, Lululemon and Kering – a luxury fashion group that manages the development of brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen – teamed up with biotech startup Bolt Threads to give them exclusive access to Bolt Threads’ Mylo material, which also uses fast-growing mycelium to make vegan leather.
The products of the partnership include the Frayme Mylo handbag by Stella McCartney – the first commercially available product made from vegan mushroom leather from Bolt Threads. The handbag made its catwalk debut as part of the presentation of the Stella McCartney Summer 2022 collection during Paris Fashion Week. Inspired by McCartney’s iconic Falabella bag, the Frayme Mylo is made from vegan mushroom leather wrapped in an oversized, recyclable aluminum chain strap and adorned with a statement medallion made of zamak.
“For my summer 2022 collection, I took so much inspiration from mushrooms and their incredible potential for saving our planet – and the Frayme Mylo embodies that hope for the future,” McCartney said in a statement. âOur long-term partners at Bolt Threads and I have a shared passion for material innovations and the introduction of a luxury handbag made of Mylo-Mycella leather is a milestone not only for us, but for the whole world. What you see on the catwalk today is the conscious fashion industry of tomorrow. ”
McCartney previously worked with Bolt Threads to develop a replacement for animal silk in their collections with the startup’s yeast-based silk. “A lot of people associate leather with luxury, but I always wanted to approach things differently from the start because killing animals for fashion’s sake is just not acceptable,” says McCartney. “Working closely with Bolt Threads since 2017 has been a career-changing experience and I can’t wait to bring Mylo products to market in 2021.”
For more about vegan leather read:
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