Mold and grow a lampshade out of mycelium? Sure, why not!
We have all heard of bags and dresses made of mycelium, the root part of the mushroom. In those cases, the mycelium itself is the base of the material. But mycelium can also be used as a kind of natural glue to bond together other biomaterials such as wood or hemp. This is what the New York-based biofabrication company Ecovative Design does. With mycelium as the base, they grow new biodegradable and compostable materials out of crop waste to offer an alternative to plastics.
The result? Lamp shades, bowls, textiles, planters and packaging, for both design and industry purposes (Among their partners are Bolt Threads and Ikea, for instance).
Ecovative’s idea is to reinvent the way we manufacture goods, the way we think of materials and design, and also to invite consumers to take part in the design process. Because yes, they actually sell grow it at home-design kits.
Photo cred: Ecovative.
Photo cred: Screenshot from Moeburns promo video.
Material innovation company Bolt Threads have done it again! After the collaborations with Stella McCartney, on the spider silk gold dress and the Falabella mushroom bag, they are now releasing their own first ever commercial product: the The Bolt Projects Mylo Driver Bag. The bag is handcrafted with canvas and leather grown from mycelium – the part of the mushrooms that grow underneath the ground. Apart from the bag being very stylish and is reported to be as strong as regular leather, it’s good news for the environment too. Creating it didn’t involve raising any livestock, creating any land erosion or methane emissions.
To create the bag Bolt Threads collaborated with Portland-based brand Chester Wallace, known for its handcrafting. At this point, the bags can be preordered on their Kickstarter page to be delivered to backers in the spring of 2019.
Photo credit: Bolt Threads
Photo credit: Bolt Threads
Photo credit: Bolt Threads
Buy, wear and throw away without climate guilt. A dress designed to die. That’s how Swedish Fashion Tech company Streamateria describes their new compostable dress, planned to be released in the fall. They have found a wood based material to work with and are now looking for collaborators interested in developing it. Not much else to report on this right now, but here’s a first look at the dress:
Screenshot from Streamateria, LinkedIn.
We have known for a while that british designer Stella McCartney has partnered up with biotech startup Bolt Threads. In 2017 they launched their first collaboration together, a spider silk dress that was showcased at MoMa in NYC.
Now they’re launching their second product together: McCartneys iconic Falabella bag, in the mushroom leather material Mylo, The Current Daily reports. The material is made out of mushroom mycelium cells, that has been grown in beds of corn stalks and other nutrition and self-assembled into a leather-like material.
– Once you take that technology and innovation and you marry it with luxury fashion and design and creativity, there’s no end to what magical madness you can create, Stella McCartney has told Forbes.
There are no plans as of yet to put this bag up for sale. But if you want to see it in real life, head out to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London where it will be displayed in the exhibition ”Fashioned by nature” from April 21.
Bolt Threads will also release their own version of the Mylo bag, available for preorder i June. With this project, Bolt Threads are moving in to new biotech territory. The company has so far been known for its manmade spider silk material Microsilk.
The Stella McCartney + Bolt Threads Falabella Bag in Mylo leather.
The annual festival SXSW Interactive starts today and this year’s schedule looks exhaustive indeed. The fashion angle is present of course, and starting off today is a discussion about how AI is transforming luxury, fashion and beauty with reps from L’Oreal and Fashion Innovation Alliance among others.
Starting off tomorrow’s schedule, Erik Bang of H&M Foundation will participate in a panel discussion about biotech’s impact on fashion and on our planet. Discussion partners include Dan Widmaier from spider silk company Bolt Threads, Suzanne Lee from lab leather makers Modern Meadow and Rachel Arthur from innovation firm The Current Daily. Should be exciting!
Is spider silk ready to reach the mainstream? Maybe. Sportswear company Adidas seem to be looking in that direction, anyway. Late last year they presented a biofabricated sneaker made from spider silk, at the Biofabricate conference in New York. The shoe was made in collaboration with German company Amsilk, whose product Biosteel is made of synthetic spider silk proteins. The material is biodegradable which means this show could actually be composted, unlike most of the shoes that the company normally sells. And apparently it is both lighter and stronger than synthetic running shoes. Although just a prototype, Adidas hopes to put this shoe on the market by next year. Let’s hope!
Photo credit: Adidas
So, CES 2017 just concluded a couple of days ago. And as exciting as the whole thing was, the reports on fashion tech related stuff has left me somewhat… blah. Apart from a few new models of smart glasses with AR features that I will get back to in another post, there seemed to be a lot of stuff we’ve seen many times before: like the occasional shoe that can change colors with the click of a button on your smart phone, LED-dresses, 3D-printed dresses, designer fitness trackers and so forth. Not that these gadgets are bad or anything. It’s just that when it comes to innovation and new products within the fashion tech area, I would have hoped for something more unexpected.
It’s like the industry has come to a halt when it comes to creativity and/or have failed to connect the the dots between the tech- and fashion industries.
Or is something else going on? I think so.
I have good reason to believe that the most exciting things are actually happening somewhere else right now. I think the focus within fashion tech has simply shifted from gadgets to services, for instance retail and payment, and also sizing, customization and individualization. And let’s not forget to mention the intriguing world of material development, where biotech companies are attempting to create leather out of mushrooms and silk out of spider web to mention a few.
In all of those areas there are actual, rather than constructed problems to solve.
And that’s exciting for real.
Beauty and function in one item, be it clothing or jewelry, is great. But the focus might be shifting from gadgets to services in the industry.
Photo credit: Screenshots from Electric Runway Youtube channel and CES Fashion Ware show.