With the plan to use amadou mushroom skin as a renewable and biodegradable leather alternative in luxury fashion, Irene-Marie Seelig was one of five students from the London College of Fashion selected as winners of the Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion in 2016. In 2017, her start-up Amadou Mushroom Leather was a finalist for the H&M Global Change Award. Also in 2017, the first pair of Amadou Leather indoor/outdoor slippers were made as proof of concept.
Amadou Leather is made from the amadou fungus - also called tinder or hoof fungus - (Fomes fomentarius) that grows in nature on the bark of conifers. The company grows this fungus in recycled sawdust and slices it to make a suede-like flexible mushroom leather.
Amadou leather is made from the mushroom itself (i.e., the fruiting body of the fungus). The company grows their mushrooms on recycled sawdust using edible mushroom cultivation techniques. After reaching a suitable size, the mushroom is carved and pressed into the desired shape.
Amadou Mushroom leather is likely more sustainable than bovine leather in many areas, including water, chemical, and land use, emissions, and animal welfare. Uncoated, it is completely biodegradable.
According to company information, Amadou Mushroom Leather is a rich brown color and feels like suede. It is lightweight, flexible, and absorbs moisture, yet is breathable. The company indicates that durability has been tested to European and International standards, but test results are not yet available. Amadou Mushroom Leather may benefit from a coating to make it suitable for more applications.
The first pair of Amadou Leather indoor/outdoor slippers were made in 2017 as proof of concept.
Images from Amadou Mushroom Leather.