Late last month, leading materials start-up Bolt threads said it had paused operations for its leather alternative Mylo. The company’s struggle to raise funds points to deeper challenges for the sector, writes Kenneth Pucker.
Leather alternatives have been boosted as eco-innovation and dismissed as mere plastic, but the truth is more complicated than that and demands clearer marketing to avoid misleading consumers.
The number of supposedly better and more sustainable materials keeps multiplying, but few achieve scale. So why should Nike’s latest innovation, Forward, succeed where others have stalled?
A grim economic climate has tempered enthusiasm for risky investments, but fashion companies and executives like H&M, Kering and Stella McCartney still see opportunity in start-ups pursuing sustainability solutions.
For the first time, brands including Stella McCartney, Balenciaga and Hermès are bringing products made of buzzy mushroom-based materials to market, a critical test for whether the next-generation fabrics could one day hit the mainstream.