Ecovative, leaders in the fast–growing mycelium materials space, today launched Forager, a division focused on designing, marketing, and manufacturing vegan, plastic-free leather-like materials and foams for the fashion and automotive industries.
Rather than animals or petroleum, Forager™ Hides and Forager™ Foams are made from mycelium, the filamentous ‘root structure’ of fungi. Grown on agricultural byproducts (like corn husks), these pure mycelium materials are fully biodegradable and home-compostable, without any plastic or fiber additives. Forager will utilize Ecovative’s AirMycelium™ technology to produce large sheets of pure mycelium material at commercial scale, with the ability to fine-tune density, shape, tensile strength, texture, and other qualities that meet or exceed standards in a range of fashion applications. Ecovative will also provide access to its Mycelium Foundry, which tests new strains and growing conditions to quickly develop novel materials with distinct qualities.
Forager is also launching in established partnerships with leading brands, as part of the Fashion For Good Cooperative announced at the end of 2021. Each partner will be supplied with mycelium hides and foams as alternatives to their leather or plastic equivalents, receiving real-time feedback and support from the Foundry as hides and foams are developed into market-ready products. With further partnerships to be announced, and with the infrastructure in place to produce new materials at scale, Forager is uniquely positioned to innovate and compete in this space.
Ecovative co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer Gavin McIntyre will introduce the new division as the headline speaker for the Materials Innovation Initiative Conference on May 18th – 19th, 2022.
“Forager is launching at a moment when consumers and brands alike are eager for the next step in sustainable materials.” Says Nicole Rawling, Co-Founder and CEO of the Materials Innovation Initiative. “More and more people recognize that the future of what we make and use is regenerative and based in biology, but it’s going to take a diverse team of collaborators to make that vision a reality. Based on the track record of the people involved, we’re excited to see the contributions that Forager will make.”
Forager has emerged in response to growing consumer demand for products that meet high standards of quality, reliability, and environmental responsibility. Consumers are also pushing brands to demonstrate transparency, and processes that aren’t just sustainable but regenerative, all of which applies to Forager’s mycelium materials.
Forager builds on Ecovative’s pioneering successes in scaling up mycelium manufacturing, necessary for commercial viability. Ecovative will be completing the world’s largest aerial mycelium farm this summer, directly adjacent to their offices in Upstate New York. In addition, they have shown the same AirMycelium™ technology, tested earlier this year by a large, well established mushroom farm, can be deployed in existing infrastructure with minimal modifications. The launch of Forager represents a major step in mainstreaming and realizing mycelium’s transformative potential.
“Our goal has always been to make the things humans want and need in partnership with Mother Nature,” says Eben Bayer, co-founder and CEO of Ecovative. “We couldn’t be more excited to have Forager adding to this crucial project. With the companies’ mastery of mycelium technology, and the insights of some of the world’s best designers, engineers, artists and market experts, we’re confident that they will prove what everyone already knows: the future of mycelium materials is bright.”
Forager invites inquiries from brands interested in learning more about pure mycelium materials and partnering to advance next generation biomaterials that will meet the needs of people and planet all at once.