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New partners for Ecovative

Full-size mycelium sheets are grown up to 24 metres in length and 1.8 metres wide over the course of just nine days.

19th May 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  New York City

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

Sustainable fashion company Reformation has joined the Fashion for Good cooperative of New York-based Ecovative, while leading footwear company Wolverine Worldwide is directly partnering to collaborate in the testing, development and commercialisation of custom mycelium materials.

Reformation and Wolverine join a roster of brands entering into collaboration with Ecovative in the Fashion for Good initiated project, including Bestseller, Pangaia, PVH Corp. and Vivobarefoot.

They will draw on the company’s expertise in mycelium materials – in particular its specialised Forager division focused on soft goods for fashion and apparel – providing feedback that will guide the testing and development to replace incumbent materials in products that traditionally use animal leather or plastic.

Ecovative has already developed two products for the fashion and footwear industries – Forager Hides, a premium leather-like material, and Forager Foams, for breathable insulation and structural support components, each made with pure mycelium.

All of Ecovative’s products are completely bio-based, free of plastics and toxic chemicals, grown on agricultural byproducts such as woodchips and seed hulls, and fully compostable at the end of a product’s life. Full-size mycelium sheets are grown up to 24 metres in length and 1.8 metres wide over the course of just nine days.

These mycelium materials represent viable, sustainable, scalable alternatives to the fashion and apparel industries’ unsustainable status quo.

“Since relaunching our Ref Shoes category in 2021, we’ve invested deeply in the nex-gen space to find a vegan solution that meets our high product and sustainability standards, without the plastic,” said Kathleen Talbot, Reformation’s chief sustainability officer.  “Helping test and bring Ecovative’s Forager Hide to market is a critical evolution of this work, and one that we hope will drive forward a holistic sustainability agenda for fashion. We’re energised to unlock a solution that can not only be used in future Reformation collections but be made available to the entire industry.”

As the urgency of the climate crisis sinks in, consumers and brands alike are eager to replace the leather in wearables, the supportive foams used in shoes and jackets, and the plastic found throughout the industry’s products, with sustainable alternatives that don’t come at a cost to quality or durability.

Industrial animal agriculture – of which leather is a co-product – requires more arable land than any industry, consuming immense amounts of water, and using caustic chemicals. Plastics also represent a global crisis, and the apparel space has an especially high plastics footprint, which is involved in almost every product for structural support and durable finishes, making many of them impossible to recycle or reclaim.

Ecovative’s mycelium technologies make it possible to replace these unsustainable materials with fully compostable alternatives that come from and return to nature.

“The need for more sustainable materials is clear, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring them to market in partnership with Wolverine and Reformation,” said Gavin McIntyre, Ecovative’s co-founder and chief commercial officer.

McIntyre will be giving the keynote speech at the virtual  Material Innovation Initiative Conference on May 19th, joined by Wolverine Worldwide’s vice president of innovation, Barry McGeough.

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