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Is It True That There is an Attempt to Make Leather out of Mushrooms?

By Jeff Frank

Mushroom leather is real, but they are not the edible type of mushrooms.

  • Mushroom leather is a eco-friendly Vegan alternative to leather produced from animal hides.
  • Several high end European designers have already introduced handbags, wallets, watch straps, shoes and hats, made from Mushroom leathers.

Mushroom leathers have been under development by several different companies over the past 5 years.

  • These different companies use several different types of inedible mushroom species and processes for different looks and textures.
  • Mushroom leathers can be artificially engraved (similar to “corrected” top grain leathers.) They can simulate exotic leather looks and textures.
    • These include ostrich skin, snakeskin and alligator.
    • Softer leathers such as suede and lambskin can also be simulated.

    Mushroom leathers have an organic, irregular surface – just like real leather. The are generally divided into two quality grades: first and second choice.

    • Second choice may have visible defects like holes or a scratched surface. These are more likely to be artificially engraved.
    • First choice has fewer visible defects. Like natural animal leathers, the markings are unique. They give the item an individual look and feel that will not be duplicated anywhere else.

    Mushroom leathers are an eco-friendly alternative to animal leather.
    The material is treated in a similar way to animal leather, but with completely natural (non-toxic) techniques.

    • Mushroom leathers can be tanned and dyed without any of the nasty chemicals used in processing animal hides.
    • Natural thermal insulation absorbs dampness. This limits the growth of bacteria.
    • It is transpiring, water-repellent, anti-allergenic, anti-bacterial and non-toxic. This makes it ideal for products that come into contact with the skin.
      • Mushroom leathers are not waterproof by nature. But they can be made water repellant using an inexpensive, fully biodegradeable eco-wax treatment.

      Disadvantages of mushroom leathers include:

      • At this time Mushroom leathers are expensive. This limits their use to smaller accessory items.
        • At a cost of approximately $50 per square foot, they are cost competitive with higher priced exotic animal skins.
          • This is 5 – 10 times more than most cowhide leathers.
        • Mushroom leathers are not currently used for larger items such as furniture and automobile seats.
        • Narrower range of colors and natural textures.
          • Mushroom leathers are currently available only in darker shades.

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