SINGAPORE (June 7): Adi Reza Nugroho and his team at Mycotech in Bandung, Indonesia, have high hopes for the leather alternative it has developed.

Earlier this year, the startup started selling its made-from-mushroom leather in a collaboration with small fashion brands in Singapore and Indonesia.

One of these products, a vegan leather watch, is fully funded on Kickstarter.

“We purchase the [waste] generated from mushroom farming from the farmers. We have worked with four mushroom groups consisting of more than 200 farmers to supply and manufacture raw materials,” says Adi in an interview.

These farmers supply more than 6,000kg of waste product to Mycotech each month.

“Mushroom farmers [in Bandung] typically earn $3 to $5 a day,” Adi explains. “While edible mushrooms can only be grown [seasonally], our product can be grown all year round. With this new stream of income, farmers can earn up to $8 a day.”

Adi also says that it takes only five days to harvest the mycelium-based leather, compared with cow leather, which takes two years. The process emits only 7kg of carbon dioxide for 30 sf of leather, while processing the same amount of cow leather emits up to 500kg of carbon dioxide.

Mycelium-based leather is also cheaper to produce.

As the global fashion industry come under increasing scrutiny from investors to reduce its use of animal products and cut its carbon footprint, will vegan leather take off?

Login (for PayPal subscribers only) and read more about Adi's innovation in Indonesian start-up Mycotech turns mushrooms into vegan leather and building material which appears in The Edge Singapore (Issue 884, week of  June 3)