Can mycelium become a fine material to be implemented in shoe-design, as a sustainable substitute for leather?
Kristel is a researcher at KASK, University College Ghent (BE), exploring sustainable shoe-design. She is particularly interested and in search for new materials as alternatives for replacing leather, and therefore avoid being part of the overall problematic leather industry.
Kristel started her experimental process by inoculating traditional materials implemented in shoe design, such as cork, wool, linen, fine woven linen, wool, fish leather, polyester, paper-fabric and cotton and studying the interaction between the fungi and the materials.
At the same time, she’s been trying to directly grow mycelium on top of a 3D shape in 2 different ways:
- by working with a mould and try to let the mycelium grow following the same lines/shapes typical of leather
- by applying already grown mycelium materials (floating mats) to the moulds and promoting their growth further.