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Dry samples

What started as Aniela’s unfruitful experiments with different mashes of mycelium with other textiles, eventually led the way to MycoTEX, a combination of pure mycelium and technology.

The MycoTEX textile

The flexible fabric is not only 100% biodegradable and sustainable, but also industry altering in terms of the waste generation (none to negligible) and the cost effectiveness.

3D shaping

The compostable textile is capable of being shaped onto a flexible reusable 3D mould of the consumer.

The dress

Aniela aims to change the way we use textiles. Her idea is to design a personalised textile with a sustainable impact.

Mycotex fabricated into the dress

With sufficient proof of concept and 3D modelling, they are also aiming to develop a catwalk ready prototype for the Dutch Sustainable Fashion Week and Avantex Paris.

Customised to the consumer`s fit

Built organically, the garment could be made to fit the wearer’s shape and size, or requirements, and easily composted once disposed.

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Lab 27 Dec 2017

Using Fungi: A unique combination of technology, microbiology, textile and fungi, MycoTEX weaves a sustainable potential for fashion

Fast fashion and the constant cycle of hasty buying and discarding clothes has opened up a whole new set of issues for the environment. For, unlike what we think in our fast-fashion-minds, clothes don’t actually deteriorate after only a couple of years; thus resulting in a build up of mounds and mounds of dumped clothes that would take decades to disintegrate. But what if, that wasn't the case? What if, the clothes could, in fact, disintegrate completely once we disposed of them? With fast fashion’s narrow timeline in mind, Aniela Hoitink began her journey with MycoTEX, a sustainable and biodegradable textile.

Having graduated as a fashion designer from the Utrecht School of Arts and worked with several noteworthy names in the field, Aniela Hoitink had a wealth of knowledge in the field of fashion. The need to do things differently and with the belief that the unique individuality of people and materials are what make the world a better place, Aniela moulded Neffa as a brand of textile innovation, done differently.

The notion of a living textile

Her research with the characteristics of the human skin, directed Aniela to draw definitive parallels between the future of clothing and the human skin. “Like the skin is taking care of us, textiles could be taking care of us. Our skin is responding to the way we are and feel, what we do and how we behave,” she explains. 

Dry samples

What started as Aniela’s unfruitful experiments with different mashes of mycelium with other textiles, eventually led the way to MycoTEX, a combination of pure mycelium and technology.

Delving further into living beings and their innate behaviours, Aniela came across what are called the “soft bodies” species, collectively referring to the ones who grow by replicating themselves, such as sea sponges and certain types of fungi, like the Trichoderma reesei. This observation inspired her to think about the possibility of self-repairing garments that can retain their structure and aesthetics. Furthermore, built organically, the garment could be made to fit the wearer’s shape and size, or requirements, and easily composted once disposed. 

The MycoTEX textile

The flexible fabric is not only 100% biodegradable and sustainable, but also industry altering in terms of the waste generation (none to negligible) and the cost effectiveness.

The need and the intent

With the disposable culture taking over, people rarely repair their garments, even perfectly fit items of clothing are disposed of within a couple of years. Aniela aims to change the way we use textiles. Her idea is to design a personalised textile with a sustainable impact. MycoTEX was conceived with the intention of creating a textile out of a living material, and study the implications.

“Looking for ways to incorporate microbiology into textiles, I have experimented with slime moulds and bacteria. So when there was an open call from the Utrecht University, Officina Corpuscoli and Mediamatic to work with mycelium, I was interested!” Aniela exclaims. Understanding the impressive natural properties of mycelium as a water repellent, anti-microbial and skin caring material, only egged her on further. 

3D shaping

The compostable textile is capable of being shaped onto a flexible reusable 3D mould of the consumer.

“We can only rethink fashion by looking for ideas and innovations outside the fashion industry and to start collaborating at a larger level. To me that is the only way to truly innovate our industry.”

The Dress, and the making of

What started as Aniela’s unfruitful experiments with different mashes of mycelium with other textiles, eventually led the way to MycoTEX, a combination of pure mycelium and technology. The flexible fabric is not only 100% biodegradable and sustainable, but also industry altering in terms of the waste generation (none to negligible) and the cost effectiveness. “We have a disruptive supply chain by skipping steps like spinning yarn, weaving cloth and sewing garments. MycoTEX is sustainably grown in a lab, so we don’t need expensive farmland or [face] its seasonal influences. We use less water and no chemicals or pesticides,” Aniela elaborates.

The dress

Aniela aims to change the way we use textiles. Her idea is to design a personalised textile with a sustainable impact.

After the development of the fabric itself, Neffa set into motion a series of experiments and trials with the material. The compostable textile was then shaped onto a flexible reusable 3D mould of the consumer – based on the consumer’s body scan – to create a personalised dress for the consumer. With sufficient proof of concept and 3D modelling, they have also developed a catwalk ready prototype for the Dutch Sustainable Fashion Week and Avantex Paris. 

Mycotex fabricated into the dress

With sufficient proof of concept and 3D modelling, they are also aiming to develop a catwalk ready prototype for the Dutch Sustainable Fashion Week and Avantex Paris.

Customised to the consumer`s fit

Built organically, the garment could be made to fit the wearer’s shape and size, or requirements, and easily composted once disposed.

MycoTEX all the way into the future

Flaunting a successful first venture that inspired and excited not only the science and fashion industry, but also a large array of consumers, Neffa is now looking to further the capabilities of MycoTEX as a material. With her primary goal being to rethink fashion, Aniela says “Currently we are improving only the different steps in the fashion industry, for example improve dying or washing to minimise water use or improve wearing. We can only rethink fashion by looking for ideas and innovations outside the fashion industry and to start collaborating at a larger level. To me that is the only way to truly innovate our industry.”

Keep up with more of Aniela’s distinctive work on her website. You can read more on our series on Using Fungi, exploring the other ways in which Shell Mycelium have been used as a material in design.