ECCO Leather, a part of the Danish footwear brand ECCO and a world leader in innovative and premium leathers and Ecovative, the leading mycelium technology company have announced they are working collaboratively to develop and commercialize the next generation of mycelium materials for footwear, fashion and apparel.
This is the first partnership between a traditional leather tannery and a mycelium technology company. It leverages Ecovative’s strengths as a global leader in developing sustainable materials with mycelium as well as ECCO Leather’s expertise in the development and production of leather products. Earlier this year, the companies began exchanging materials and methods to test and compare mycelium materials against the high performance standards for commercial leather products and tanning processes.
The collaboration is currently being expanded and extended to introduce new products into the market. According to the agreement, Ecovative will provide ECCO Leather with the custom-tuned mycelium materials developed through this process, and ECCO Leather will transform it into new materials for both its own brand and to supply its material partner network.
Both companies will apply their unique expertise and production technologies, such as AirMycelium™ at Ecovative, which produces 100% pure mycelium hides to specification, and ECCO Leather’s faster tannery processes that require less chemicals and water than traditional textile finishing methods. The project aims to bring innovative mycelium materials to global scale, addressing a growing consumer demand for environmentally positive products.
“The best and fastest way to advance new materials with biology is through partnerships just like this one with ECCO Leather,” says Gavin McIntyre, Chief Commercial Officer of Ecovative. “By combining our expertise and capacity to grow mycelium at scale, and ECCO Leather’s extensive understanding of what’s needed for the best leather products in the world, we will help bring the industry closer to true sustainability and circularity.”
“Mycelium represents a brand new canvas on which we can create with both traditional and novel material processes. It removes the complexities of the raw hide supply chain, while its fast and efficient growth allows us to bring a new material category to market, one that gives consumers an environmentally conscious choice over petrochemical-derived materials,” says Bart Hofman-Kronborg, Group Manufacturing Director of ECCO Leather. “Historically, tanneries have exclusively been associated with animal hides; with mycelium, this millennia-old industry can evolve, diversify and expand into a wider material market.”