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March 23, 2022

Pangaia, Vivobarefoot, Ecovative to research mycelium in fashion

Pangaia and Vivobarefoot are to partner with Ecovative to develop custom mycelium materials for use in their respective footwear and fashion products.

By Hannah Abdulla

The collective mycelium 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. It also sees the three join the Fashion for Good Cooperative.

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, Ecovative says.

“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.”

Gavin McIntyre, Ecovative’s co-founder and chief business officer, said: “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. “We are thrilled to work with Vivobarefoot, a company with sustainability at its core, to bring next-gen mycelium materials to the footwear industry.”

Last April, Ecovative raised another $60m in funding to grow mycelium based materials better and faster, in key markets, at industrial scale. 

The Series D round brings the total capital raised by the New York-based company to US$100m, and was led by Viking Global Investors, with support from Senator Investment Group, AiiM Partners, Trousdale Ventures and others.

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