Amadou Slipper I alternative leather mushroom

These slippers were made in 2016 from Amadou mushroom skin uppers and lined with linen as part of a collaboration with Irene-Marie Seelig who was at the time studying at LCF (London College of Fashion) on the MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation course. Irene had developed Amadou mushroom skin as a leather alternative. A particular Transylvanian mushroom material with a hard ‘conk’ mushroom fruit that grows on trees and is boiled to bring out part of the centre matter which is then pounded out to make these ‘skins’. Her focus was to improve the textile’s aesthetic, durability, circular supply chain and business model. The ‘skins’ remained somewhat hard and Irene came to me with samples of the material which she had steamed, dyed and foiled. She wanted to prove its properties were workable in accessories, offering an alternative to animal suede and leather.

The vegetarian mushroom leather textile is a 100 percent renewable, biodegradable and compostable material. Products that are made with this material decompose at the end of their lifecycle and enrich soil, supporting plant growth and feeding back into the ecosystem.

Irene called upon the expertise of SATRA to test the material with a multitude of finishes and experimented with varying treatments and worked the leather into various thicknesses. We traveled together to Kettering and had the material tested to indicate applications. Test indicated light wear shoes so I designed slippers mules which could be worn outside. I designed and prototyped the shoes in a way to showcase the material’s potential and Irene’s material samples.

Collaboration is part of the joy of what I do and I have been very fortunate to have worked with so many exception creatives. Irene coming from a business and entrepreneur specialism and this was unusual given I most of my collaborators are with creatives. However Irene brought so much creativity, ease and efficiently to the project. I was delighted she won the Kerring Award and was listed in Forbes 30 under 30 ones to watch. This came as no surprise!