Why Fashion Is High On Mushrooms Right Now

Mushroom prints and motifs have been an emerging trend since at least the spring ‘21 shows, but this season, many designers went all in, using mushrooms as their main inspiration in a variety of spring ’22 collections. Coming on the heels of other popular trends from the ‘70s like halter tops and flared pants, retro mushroom prints — from charming red toadstools to rainbow-hued psychedelic caps — have also given way to a more future-looking trend in the form of vegan mushroom leather.

Last month, when Monse staged its New York Fashion Week IRL comeback, designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia stepped out of their usual toolkit of stripes and bold minimalism to show mushroom prints on everything from asymmetrical skirts and silk dresses to chunky cardigans. The designers shared with Vogue that the concept of escape — both physical and figurative — was a major inspiration in this collection.

At Rodarte, mushrooms showed up on party-ready looks. The Mulleavy sisters presented two flowing dresses with balloon hemlines and flowing capes in pastel colors featuring hand-drawn multicolor fungi art created by their mother. Meanwhile, Brandon Maxwell’s collection took party-dressing to another level with mushroom shapes that featured women’s legs as stalks. For more casual users dressers, Maxwell showed sweaters and T-shirts with mushroom prints, paired with metallic, disco-ready skirts and jackets, as well as psychedelic ‘70s prints.

Mushrooms are just the latest from a deluge of fun, psychedelic prints that have been all over TikTok and Instagram. The prints themselves are  references to ’60s and ‘70s trends like cartoonish florals, cow prints, and undulating stripes, done in pastel and bright colors, and adorn many Y2K trends like low-rise bottoms, minidresses, and slinky, collared tops.

At Stella McCartney, the designer said that mushrooms were the main inspiration for her collection which was presented against a soundtrack containing the amplified sounds of fungi growing in the wild. The statement was a commentary on the role of mushrooms in the future of fashion (they’re great for making sustainable materials, by the way!), as well as the ways humans can look to fungi, which often grow in groups or form on other living organisms like trees, to learn how to live in community with one another. Of course, McCartney also presented vegan-leather pieces made of mycelium, derived from mushrooms, with a new version of the “Icon” bag. In a statement, the designer connected mushrooms to the industry, more generally: “What you see on the runway today is the conscious fashion industry of tomorrow.”

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