The £2,000 Stella McCartney handbag that was a mushroom and pineapple Nike trainers

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With its soft black exterior, chunky gold and silver chain and discreet magnetic clasp, it looks just like any other “It” bag coveted by celebrities and high-net-worth shoppers everywhere. But what makes this £1,995 half-moon clutch so revolutionary is that no cows were harmed to make its leather.

Stella McCartney’s must-have accessory began life as a mushroom, a fungus that was grown on a huge indoor farm in the Netherlands before its fibrous “roots” were spun into durable, ultra-desirable fabric.

When the Frayme Mylo goes on sale on Thursday, it will establish a new fashion watermark as the world’s first handbag made entirely from mushrooms.

McCartney, 50, says his design – which has a limited first edition of 100 – will help shoppers make “conscious choices”.

When the Frayme Mylo goes on sale on Thursday, it will establish a new fashion watermark as the world’s first handbag made entirely from mushrooms.

McCartney, 50, says his design - which has an initial edition limited to 100 - will help buyers make

McCartney, 50, says his design – which has an initial limited edition of 100 – will help shoppers make ‘conscious choices’

“I want to make it easier for people to make responsible fashion choices, without ever compromising on beauty or desirability,” she says.

The Prince of Wales, another follower of sustainable agriculture is already a fan. He and McCartney discussed his vegan range at the Cop26 climate change summit in Glasgow last November, and he reportedly found his display “illuminating and inspiring”.

Motivated by her late mother Linda, a passionate animal rights activist, McCartney has not used fur, leather or animal skins in her brand since her launch in 2001. Now the rest of the industry of fashion follows its commitment to sustainability and cruelty-free. fashion with a trend that will revolutionize the way clothing is made and dramatically reduce the industry’s impact on the planet.

After McCartney’s revolutionary mushroom bag, animal-free belts, bags, wallets and shoes will follow from next year, by brands like Hermès, retail chain H&M and French luxury giant Kering, which controls prestigious brands such as Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta.

And the menu of materials used to make them reads like a shopping list from Sainsbury’s fruit and veg department: in addition to mushrooms, the clothes will soon be woven from pineapple, apples, bananas and coconuts. – even the grapes left over from vinification.

Pioneering biotech companies are committed to the same cause of sustainable fashion, but eschew the “vegan leather” label and instead make the material from cells taken from cows and fish and grown in the lab. Silicon Valley company VitroLabs – which is backed by Kering and Hollywood actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio – takes cell samples from living cows and turns them into leather in a San Francisco lab.

The process is similar to brewing: cells grown inside vats of nutrient-rich liquid are then spread out on shelves where, for four weeks, they grow into skin-like textiles.

Announcing his investment in May as part of a £39million funding round, DiCaprio said: “Cell-grown leather rivals the qualities of animal leather while having a positive impact on climate change. .

“The level of research and refinement that went into bringing this product to life makes it an exciting time for the industry.”

Fashion made from pineapple fiber, by a company called Pinatex, is now all the rage

Fashion made from pineapple fiber, by a company called Pinatex, is now all the rage

VitroLabs managing director, former fashion designer Ingvar Helgason, believes that growing leather in a lab is the future of the fashion industry.

Not only will this prevent cows, pigs and goats from being slaughtered for the hides so demanded by luxury fashion houses, but it will also use less water and harmful chemicals in the tanning process.

Helgason says, “The opportunity for alternative materials is huge. We think of it as the size of the $400bn (£330bn) leather goods industry worldwide. All technology takes time to evolve, but consumer demand is there and brands are responding to it.

McCartney’s Mushroom Sac is made from mycelium, those thin, branch-like fibers that act like roots as they spread through the soil.

They are made into a material called Mylo by California-based company Bolt Threads, which also develops mushroom-based products with Kering, Danish label Ganni, and sportswear brands Lululemon and Adidas.

Its mushrooms are grown on vertical indoor farms in the Netherlands that are powered by renewable energy and take up a fraction of the land needed to raise a cow for its leather.

Producing the base material for textiles takes less than two weeks, compared to years of raising cattle.

Jamie Bainbridge, Vice President of Product Development at Bolt Threads, says, “Mycelium turns into a frothy layer on huge trays – imagine a big bag of crushed marshmallows.

“We then process and dye this mycelium sheet, and it becomes the Mylo material that is used to make beautiful shoes, handbags, wallets, phone cases and other products.”

Other brands piling up in this already crowded realm include Ananas Anam, which makes Pinatex fabric from waste pineapple fibers.

Other brands piling up in this already crowded realm include Ananas Anam, which makes Pinatex fabric from waste pineapple fibers.

A team of about two dozen scientists – including physicists and chemical biologists – is trying to perfect Mylo’s formula to make it even tougher.

Bolt Threads has created prototype mushroom-shaped trainers for Adidas and hopes to eventually produce clothing made from the mycelium fibers, following the unveiling last year of a sample black corset and trouser outfit – which has was modeled for McCartney by American actress and musician Paris Jackson.

Hermès, the maker of Birkin and Kelly handbags, has followed the fungal fabric trend closely. She is working with the American company MycoWorks to make her Victoria bag from another mushroom-based material, Reishi.

MycoWorks Managing Director Matt Scullin said: “From the Stone Age and Bronze Age to the Iron Age, the great epochs of human history have been described by key material. We are in the early days of the era of biomaterials… and MycoWorks and our partners are leading the revolution in new materials.

Other brands piling up in this already crowded realm include Ananas Anam, which makes Pinatex fabric from waste pineapple fiber purchased from farmers in the Philippines.

It was used to make £115 Paul Smith and Nike trainers, upholster a chair by designer Tom Dixon and decorate the Hilton hotel chain’s first-ever ‘vegan suite’ on London’s South Bank.

And the Pangaia eco-brand, based in the capital, uses fibers from bananas, pineapple, bamboo or even nettles and seaweed as an alternative to cotton.

Next month, Stella McCartney plans to unveil a line of shoes and bags made in part from grape fibers, as well as fruit skins and stems discarded during winemaking. Fashionistas convinced that sustainable fashion is a good look will no doubt drink it.

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