Monday, December 5, 2022

Lululemon Makes Good On Its Promise: Mushroom Leather Bags Have Arrived

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Canadian athletic apparel brand Lululemon has launched two bags made from sustainable vegan mushroom leather.

Making good on its announcement last summer that sustainable mushroom leather products were coming, Lululemon has released two new vegan mushroom leather Mylo bags. Its yoga mat bag can be folded up and used as a floor mat, the company says.

The brand initially announced its plans to work with mushrooms last summer in a bid to become more sustainable. That announcement included a mushroom-based yoga mat, which the company now says is paused.

“The launch of our Mylo bags is an exciting milestone for Lululemon, as our guests can now experience the premium look and feel of this innovative, sustainable material rsthand,” Sun Choe, chief product officer at Lululemon told WWD. “Our Lululemon Meditation and Yoga Mat bag and Lululemon Barrel Duffle bag, which feature Mylo, demonstrate our commitment to creating a healthier future through low-impact products, paired with the performance-driven and high-quality design we’re known for.”

Sustainability at Lululemon

Sustainability initiatives from the brand also included yoga pants made from LanzaTech’s carbon capture technology. The tech company has also turned carbon into dresses for Zara, and it’s working with perfumer Coty on converting its bases to carbon-sourced.

Lululemon also announced the launch of a resale program last year, a move it says will reduce its carbon footprint by 50 percent. “Lululemon is actively working to help create a healthier future,” CEO Calvin McDonald said in a statement.

In 2020, Lululemon announced plans to power its operations with 100 percent renewable electricity by the end of 2021. It met that target for factories it owns—also known as Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. But Scope 3 emissions are typically the biggest offenders—an issue flagged in a recent report that found the world’s leading corporations were failing to disclose in sustainability progress reports.

Ninety-five percent of Lululemon’s emissions are Scope 3, according to a report published last year, which has been called out by environmental watchdogs. The brand came under fire ahead of the Olympics as the official clothing supplier for Team Canada.

The group Stand.earth is urging Lululemon to transition away from coal at its Asian facilities by 2030. It claims nearly half of Lululemon’s factories, which are spread out across Asia, are coal-burning. Only five percent use renewable energy sources, the group said.

Lululemon’s “brand is based on these values of wellbeing and sustainability and when you look more closely at the brand’s sustainability or climate efforts, you’ll quickly notice that they’ve taken very little steps to actually move away from fossil fuels and to tackle their emissions,” Muhannad Malas a senior climate campaigner with Stand.earth said in a statement. 

Mushroom leather

Lululemon is working with Bolt Threads, the California-based startup behind Mylo, the mushroom leather favored by British designer Stella McCartney. Last September, McCartney debuted a Mylo mushroom leather version of her vegan Frayme handbag during Paris Fashion Week.

Lululemon joined the Mylo Consortium in 2020. The Consortium is a group of brands that plan to use the eco-material, including Adidas, Kering, and Stella McCartney.

Mushroom leather is proving popular with luxury brands; both Hermès and Mercedes-Benz have incorporated it as part of recent sustainability initiatives. Compared with other leather alternatives, mycelium-based leather delivers a more natural leather-like experience, with the texture and durability of animal leather.

benefits-of-mushrooms

Brands including Bolt Threads, MycoWorks, and Ecovative have been leading the category. Last December, Ecovative announced the formation of a new cooperative counting Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein as members. Ecovative has raised more than $100 million in funding.

“As a premium athletic brand, having innovative and proprietary fabrics and other materials that help guests feel their best to perform their best is something we’re proud of,” Sun Choe, Chief Product Officer at Lululemon, said last year.

“Sustainable innovation will continue to play a key role in the future of retail and product, and for us, leveraging a material like Mylo demonstrates our commitment to creating a healthier environment through lower-impact products, while also giving us the ability to reimagine iconic pieces in our line through a sustainability lens.”

The new bags are on display at select Lululemon stores in Tokyo, Melbourne, Sydney, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, and available online. They retail for $238 for the Meditation and Yoga Mat Bag, and $328 for the Barrel Duffle Bag.

Lululemon Barrel Duffle Bag

A choice companion. With strategically placed pockets and a removable pouch, this duffle is ready for gym or getaway.

Lululemon Makes Good On Its Promise: Mushroom Leather Bags Have Arrived

Lululemon 2-in-1 Yoga Mat Bag and Meditation Mat

This yoga mat bag unrolls into a meditation mat so you can pause and recentre at a moment’s notice. The unique design can be carried rolled or folded.

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