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Supporting MycoWorks in Exploring New Materials for Fashion and Décor

reishi mushrooms (via )

The clothing and fashion industry doesn’t have a very good environmental record. Right now, fashion production consumes about 24.6 trillion gallons of clean water each year—enough to meet the needs of 5 million people—while producing roughly 20 percent of the world’s industrial wastewater (further contributing to the problem of drinking water scarcity). It currently accounts for at least 10 percent of global carbon emissions. That’s more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. And fashion is on track to produce 26 percent of global carbon emissions by 2050.  

Meanwhile, 85 percent of all textiles are discarded each year—most of it heading to a landfill or incinerator.

To protect our planet, we cannot afford to continue manufacturing practices as we always have. This is why Priorclave North America is so pleased to work with organizations like MycoWorks. MycoWorks a U.S.-based company using sustainable biology to push the boundaries of manufacturing.

Exploring Mushroom-Based Sources for Industrial Materials

If you want to increase the sustainability of the fashion sector, leather goods are a good place to start. Leather production is a driving force of the livestock industry. This industry uses 30 percent of the world’s landmass, 50 percent of the U.S. fresh water supply, and produces 18 percent of Earth’s greenhouse gasses. Even with this massive investment of resources, we still aren’t producing as much leather as the world needs. Leather demand for all purposes—from high-fashion handbags to work boots for laborers in the developing world—has been rising more than twice as fast as the supply of cattle.  

MycoWorks is harnessing the power of fungus to produce new raw materials that are indistinguishable from—or even improve upon—their predecessors. These include a fungus-based leather that looks and feels like animal-sourced leather, but is more durable and incurs a fraction of the environmental impact.

Using fungus mycelium offers huge advantages: the inputs are agricultural waste, the material itself grows exponentially, and it can be guided into useful forms, like sheets of pliable, textile-like material or ready-to-use furniture (one of founder Phil Ross’s first projects was growing a chair.)

“What MycoWorks is doing is so amazing,” says Barbra Wells, CEO of Priorclave North America. “From a single biological source they can produce this supple material, as fine and luxurious as any leather. But they can also make building materials that are even more durable than cinder block. And they’re doing it in a way that’s sustainable, scalable, and cruelty free. We sold them their first Priorclave autoclave when they launched back in 2020, and in just three years they’ve already launched a commercial-scale manufacturing facility in South Carolina. We’re absolutely thrilled to have played even the smallest part in supporting their growth and innovation.”