German engineering firm nat-2 recently created a high-end, vegan shoe made from a blend of fungi. The concept and material for the Fungi Line was developed by Berlin-based designer Nina Fabert of vegan materials company Zvnder. The leather component of the shoe is made from a fungus that undergoes a natural, year-long harvest, after which it is used to make footwear, by hand, in a family-owned manufacturing company in Italy. The balance of the shoe is made with a combination of eco-cotton terry cloth, microfiber suede from recycled bottles, cork, and rubber. This alternative to animal leather—which the brand says has a “vintage look” and a soft texture—is environmentally-friendly, organic, vegan, gluten-, and chemical-free. The Fungi Line is among a number of newly developed vegan alternatives to animal leather, including pineapple-based Piñatex, apple peel-based leather used by shoe brand VEERAH, and biotechnology startup Modern Meadow’s yeast-based leather that grows in a lab-setting.
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