Exploring New Techniques and Sustainable Textiles: Eirinn Hayhow’s Magic Mushrooms AW21

March 8, 2021
Written By:
Written By:
March 8, 2021

As designers of the future, it is our duty to be sustainable” – Erin Hayhow.

Designer Erin Hayhow’s collections are made from innovative sustainable materials and harnessed waste products. She sees the potential in everything, telling UCA that even “chewing gum” and “moss” are beautiful to her.

Like all her work for her brand ‘Eirinn Hayhow’, Erin’s AW21 collection, titled ‘Magic Mushrooms’, uses natural dyes, sustainable fibres and salvaged cotton. In creating the psychedelic collection, she used rescued cotton fibres from unwanted items at the Pilgrims Hospice combined with hemp fibres, pineapple leather and dyes made from plant waste.


The result of her child-like, structure-defying style and the natural materials chosen makes for a unique, couture examination of the world of mushrooms. Each garment in the collection is based on an individual mushroom. Hayhow finds the singular world of mycology fascinating and, evidently, magical.

At The Next Cartel, we are constantly looking for designers who put sustainability at the forefront of their work. We value those who explore sustainable techniques and are fascinated by innovation in sustainable textiles. Here are four sustainable textiles and methods that piqued our interest.

Piñatex (Pineapple Leather)

Piñatex is a popular leather alternative made from waste leaves of pineapples grown in the Philippines. Its production is animal-free, requires less water than traditional leathers and produces no harmful chemicals that are ecologically toxic.

Erin finds the fabric “amazing” for its “innovative [and] sustainable” qualities (Youtube), and she is not alone in her opinion. Hayhow’s long, leather, silver jacket is made from a mixture of Piñatex and silk, hand-dyed with natural pigments.


Natural Dyes

Natural dyes, harnessed from the broad and boundless colour-palette offered to us by nature, are the perfect sustainable replacement for synthetic chemicals. Plants, berries and food waste such as lemon peels and avocado seeds can be broken down to release an array of vibrant colours.

Erin creates her own natural dyes from foraging plants and berries and using her fruit and vegetable waste. Her raw vegan diet, part of her holistic lifestyle, creates plenty of food waste for the dyes.

Hemp Fibres

Hemp seems to be everywhere these days. Hemp products include facial tonics that promise to renew and hand-creams that pledge to soften. Vegan, protein powders even have ‘organic hemp’ flavours. But hemp use is more than just a current wellness ad beauty trend. Humans have incorporated hemp into their lifestyles for centuries, with remains of hemp cloth dating back to the 5th millennium in BC China (according to Princeton University Press).

Hemp, a natural plant fibre often compared to linen, is used by Eirinn for its sustainability. Hemp moves easily with the body and is workable across different seasons. As the material has a stiffness to it, Hayhow has used it to create ‘hemp denim’.


Sweat Crystals

Although not used in Erin’s work, sweat crystals definitely deserve a mention when it comes to sustainable innovation in fashion. As the name suggests, these are crystals grown from literal human sweat.

Alice Potts, a sustainable material innovator, harvests sweat from objects people have worn before (like a pair of dirty socks). In the lab, she harnesses the bacteria and grows it back onto different garments such as evening dresses. They are “like human crystals” (she told Vogue).

Erin’s vision for the future of her brand is to continue discovering innovative solutions to waste products. She wants to create more collections like Magic Mushrooms, which nourish both the wearer and the planet. The expert in sustainable design even hinted that she is working on creating her own fabrics from biomaterials (she told Yugen).

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