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Mad for Mushrooms

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If you caught our Christmas Trends report at the tail end of last year, you’ll know that ‘Festive Fungai’ sprang up as a surprise feature, with mushrooms and toadstools appearing across some of the biggest retailer’s displays. 

Much like how wild mushrooms spread, interpretations of these little guys are now infiltrating everything from our social media feeds to our wardrobes, from what we feed ourselves to what we put on our faces. 

However, unlike some other trends, this one runs a lot deeper than just cute motifs and enchanting displays, with more brands and designers exploring mycelium for its sustainable properties than ever before. 

 

At surface level… 

So, why the mushroom? It’s been largely reported that after the chaos of the last few years, many of us are leaning into escapism and nostalgia. For many, mushrooms and toadstools are synonymous with childhood; symbolic of imagination and fantasy. 

The shape is, of course, evocative of the natural world; something that as a society, we yearn to get closer to as living environments become increasingly urban. But the mushroom feels somewhat cooler than, say, a flower or a bird.

Better yet, there are applications that appeal to everyone. The traditional, charming red and white spotted image for fans of Cottagecore, or more fluid interpretations for those wanting something a little less obvious. 

 

Gnome on Toadstool Lantern by Urban Outline

Of course, we can’t discount the influence the ‘60s and ‘70s is currently having across interiors and fashion when it comes to the humble mushroom; the period saw the inception of the iconic mushroom lamp and ushered in a psychedelic lens on design and lifestyle. 

Etsy recently reported a 902% increase in searches for ‘mushroom pillows and pillowcases’ and a 371% rise in searches for ‘mushroom lamp’, whilst Pinterest named ‘Fairy Grunge’ as a 2022 trend to watch. Throughout the SS22 Fashion week line-up, mushroom motifs were seen on catwalks by Monse, Rodarte and Brandon Maxwell, and Stella McCartney—who has championed BoltThreads’ mycelium leather, Mylo, since 2017—named mushrooms as her main inspiration for her collection. 

 

 

For thousands of years, mushrooms have been used medicinally in the East, and now their anti-aging, brain-boosting properties are being relished in the mainstream more than ever before across cosmetics, beauty and wellbeing. 

 



The ‘root’ of it all

Underpinning the mushroom madness is not just its aesthetic appeal, but how their makeup can be used to pioneer more sustainable production across design. 

Mycelium, the infinitely-renewable branch-like network that sits beneath mushrooms and fungi and facilitates nutrients and regeneration by connecting every living plant and tree, is fast becoming a preferable alternative to materials like leather and suede. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under the influence

In 2017, British furniture maker, Sebastian Cox partnered with researcher and interdisciplinary designer, Ninela Ivanova to explore mushroom mycelium and its potential within commercial furniture design. Presenting the results at that year’s London Design Festival, the duo successfully created a series of simple stools and lights with a suede-like texture. 

 

 

Recognising the damage that polystyrene does to the planet, IKEA has revolutionised its packaging using mycelium to ensure that products remain protected in shipping, but that the remnants do not take centuries to decompose. 

Even Hermès, the oldest luxury fashion house in the world has hopped on board; partnering with MycoWorks to create a version of their iconic Victoria bag made from the innovative material. 

Other brands making significant investments into the development of this exciting material include Adidas, Lululemon and Kering Group to name but a few.

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Written by Jordan Evans
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Written by Jordan Evans

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