Mushrooms are having a real moment. They're showing up in our wellness supplements, as print motifs on our clothing, in documentaries narrated by our favorite red carpet stars and even as materials out of which to make our clothing. For Eden Power Corp, a newish brand focused on earth-conscious fabrications and sustainability education, mushrooms are inspiring from both a raw material and design standpoint.
For Spring 2021, brand founders Isaac Larose and Florence Provencher Proulx created a collection called "Mycelium" — named for the vegetative part of a fungus — and shot the lookbook at an indoor mushroom farm in Montreal called Les 400 Pieds de Champignon.
"The setting was absolutely perfect for this season," Larose tells Fashionista via email, adding that the team cooked some of the farm's mushrooms for dinner after the shoot.
The collection itself features fungi motifs, in addition to graphic-free clothing in a range of mushroom-y hues. But perhaps most remarkable is the Amadou hat made of a single mushroom, which pulls from Larose's own history as a milliner and required partnership with a Transylvanian artisan to create.
"Very few families still do Amadou hats in Transylvania. It's a complex and long process," Larose explains. "They first need to forage the tinder mushroom (fomes fomentarius) in the wild. [The mushrooms] need to be at least two or three years old. Then they boil it and cut it in slices following the mushroom's natural layers using a sickle. They stretch it by hand and then shape it to the desired hat form."
The final product, he says, has a "mild mushroom smell and a spongy, suede-like feeling," and was inspired by the hat favored by world-famous mycologist Paul Stamets (who you might recognize from the 2019 documentary "Fantastic Fungi").
Beyond the hat, Eden Power Corp also released wine buckets ("we're really into natural wines," says Larose), a planter and a brick (à la Supreme) made of mycelium this season. They're eager to work with mushroom leather alternatives in the future, though Larose admits that those aren't quite available for commercial use yet and they might be cost-prohibitive once they are.
"Like many conscious options, [mushroom leather] can be expensive," he says. "But there's a price to pay to be ahead of the curve and help lead the way, before alternatives can reach the masses and lower the cost structure. These things take time and we're ready to take it slow."
The clothing in the collection, though not made of fungi, is made with sustainability in mind — though Larose prefers not to use that word ("we feel it lost its meaning," he says). Packaging is made from recycled materials, hangtags are composed of water-soluble paper embedded with wildflower seeds and trees are planted for every item sold. Garments themselves are made of hemp or recycled cotton.
"These are small examples of what a one-year-old brand can do with no team and no real budget. We're so far from perfect and there's so much we would like to change but we go one step at a time," Larose says. He's quick to note that the brand is intent on always improving, saying that though they started by using a blend of organic cotton and recycled polyester, learning about the microplastic pollution that arises from synthetic clothing prompted him and Proulx to change their approach and cut polyester out of the equation.
"We think it's important to have a clear set of goals, but also be humble enough to recognize mistakes and apply change as quickly as possible to correct them. It takes honesty and determination," he notes.
Sandwiched between last season's collection (which focused on permaculture) and next season's (which is inspired by ocean acidification and restoration), Eden Power Corp's "Mycelium" is a delightfully earthy place to land. Check out the full Spring 2021 lookbook in the gallery below.