Vivobarefoot and PANGAIA will join Ecovative’s Fashion For Good Cooperative to test and develop plastic- and animal-free mycelium materials
GREEN ISLAND, N.Y., March 22, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ecovative, the mycelium technology company, today announced a joint research collaboration with Vivobarefoot, a leading producer of sustainable footwear, and PANGAIA, a materials science innovator. Through combined research, Vivobarefoot and PANGAIA will join the Fashion for Good Cooperative, working directly with the Ecovative team to co-develop custom mycelium materials for use in their respective footwear and fashion products.
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Forager™ high-performance foams are available in a wide range of fully customizable qualities, from extremely soft and thin, to incredibly firm and dense, and everything in between. (Photo: Ecovative)
As waste streams from the fashion industry increase, manufacturers are facing growing demand to use materials that are both high-performing and sustainably produced. More than 20 billion pairs of shoes are produced every year, with PVC and EVA accounting for roughly 35 percent of the materials involved. That translates into millions of pounds of waste that takes centuries to decompose. In fashion, a lack of supply chain transparency and a massive carbon footprint — by some estimates accounting for as much as 10% of global carbon emissions — has created surging demand for planet-friendly materials. There is a pressing need for eco-friendly alternatives, but they often come with major trade-offs: they are more expensive, do not perform well, or are difficult to scale. Ecovative has pioneered technology that makes it possible to grow truly sustainable, all-natural materials at scale to replace plastic, styrofoam and leather, using one of nature’s super materials: mycelium.
“Mycelium is one of the most versatile and high-performing bio-materials on the planet, and has the potential to replace petroleum-based foams that are so commonplace in the footwear industry, sadly, including our own value chains,” said Galahad Clark, CEO and founder at Vivobarefoot. “As a natural health business, from our founding, Vivobarefoot has been committed to using sustainably sourced, natural, bio-based and recycled materials. We are very excited to partner with Ecovative to create the next generation of high-performing, regenerative footwear that will bring us closer to nature and our natural human potential.”
The collective research pairs Vivobarefoot and PANGAIA with Ecovative’s team of mycologists, engineers and designers, to develop a line of fungus-based, petroleum-free foams and hides for their products. Using its AirMycelium™ platform, Ecovative has already developed two products for the fashion and footwear industries: Forager™ hides, Ecovative’s alternative leather material, and Forager foams, both made of pure mycelium. Forager products are naturally produced and home-compostable. To grow full-size hides in sheets up to 24 meters in length and 1.8 meters wide takes only 9 days. Forager foams and hides are grown from agricultural byproducts, completely free of plastics, representing a sustainable, scalable, high-performing alternative to the omnipresent and ecologically damaging petroleum found in foam and leather commonly used in wearable goods worldwide.
“For more than a decade, our team has been working to develop bio-based alternatives that perform at the same level as conventional foams and leathers,” said Gavin McIntyre, Ecovative’s Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer. “We are thrilled to work with Vivobarefoot, a company with sustainability at its core, to bring next-gen mycelium materials to the footwear industry.”
Vivobarefoot and PANGAIA join the Cooperative alongside BESTSELLER and PVH Corp., who will also work with Ecovative, with a focus on developing next-generation mycelium materials for sustainable fashion products.
Ecovative is a materials science company unlocking the natural potential of mycelium with modern technology. Founded in 2007, Ecovative’s mission is to create next generation materials through mycelium biofabrication and to make mycelium materials accessible to everyone. Leveraging its Mycelium Foundry, Ecovative works with partners throughout the textiles, food and packaging industries to grow better materials for everyday needs. To learn more, visit http://www.ecovative.com.
Forager Hides, launched in March 2021, are Ecovative’s second-generation mycelium material designed to solve the sustainability challenges of the fashion industry. The latest innovation from Ecovative’s Mycelium Foundry that allows the modulation of tensile strength, density, and fiber orientation of the mycelium that comprise Forager Hides. Due to the compact and vertical design, the first farm is capable of producing 3 million square feet of leather-like material annually on only one acre of land.
Vivobarefoot are the outsiders of the shoe industry. Rejecting this broken industry and fighting for a more natural future, by reconnecting people and planet. Sedentary and cushioned lifestyles are making people and planet sick. The short-term comfort of foam and air is having a long-term effect on our health – Vivobarefoot wants to change this by making footwear that makes your feet stronger. Using wide, thin and flexible design principles that allow your feet to do their natural thing. They add less so you feel more.
All Vivobarefoot footwear is produced using sustainably sourced natural, bio and recycled materials. With the aim to protect the planet so you can run wild on it, forever. Created by two cousins from a long line of cobblers, Galahad and Asher goal is to create alternative footwear for those who want to feel. Vivobarefoot want to be judged by their actions – championing foot health and the planet. In 2020 they became accredited B Corp brand and launched ReVivo, a program that sees worn and returned Vivobarefoot footwear revived, reconditioned, keeping shoes on feet and away from landfill. The same year, Vivobarefoot launched the Livebarefoot Foundation, an in-house impact hub, catalysing research, advocacy, and enterprise-based solutions for environmental and social problems. For more information on VIVOBAREFOOT, visit www.vivobarefoot.com.
PANGAIA is a materials science company on a mission to save our environment. We are a global collective of one heart and many hands — scientists, technologists, designers — creating essential products from innovative tech and bio-engineered materials.
About Fashion for Good:
Fashion for Good is a global platform for innovation, made possible through collaboration and community.
At the core of Fashion for Good is their innovation platform. Based in Amsterdam with a satellite programme in Asia, the global accelerator programmes gives promising start-up innovators the expertise and access to funding they need to grow. The platform also supports innovators through its scaling programme and foundational projects, driving pilots and supply chain implementation with partner organisations. The Good Fashion Fund catalyses access to finance to shift at scale to more sustainable production processes.
Fashion for Good’s programmes are supported by founding partner Laudes Foundation, co-founder William McDonough and corporate partners adidas, C&A, CHANEL, BESTSELLER, Galeries Lafayette Group, Kering, Levi Strauss & Co., Otto Group, PVH Corp., Stella McCartney, Target, and Zalando, and regional and affiliate partners Arvind Limited, Birla Cellulose, HSBC, Norrøna, vivobarefoot, Welspun and W. L. Gore & Associates.
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Director of Marketing, Ecovative