Food for Thought, Ondernemen

These three entrepreneurs are developing circular paint for the fashion industry with fungi

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Rotterdam, 30th of September 2021

Fabric dye is one of the biggest causes of pollution in the clothing industry. A solution to this is often sought in dye made from vegetables, such as beetroots. However, with the increasing human population on earth, these products are better off on people’s plates. Startup Fabulous Fungi has developed a solution for this: dye made from fungi, which are produced on residual flows and give beautiful bright colours. Over the next two years, the company will collaborate with the sustainable clothing brand Iron Roots and fermentation expert Bio-aNAlytiX van Biezen in the Lab of BlueCity, a hub for circular entrepreneurs in Rotterdam. This project is partly financed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.

A factory to produce primal colours
“The selection of fungi must ensure that we can produce the primal colours as pigments. We will perform several tests to investigate colour fastness and brightness on various fabrics, before we make choices about which fabrics and products we will produce for the first presale,” says founder Ilse Kremer. With 30 years of experience in working with fungi under industrial conditions, Nick van Biezen supports Fabulous Fungi in BlueCity Lab. Making the clothing and developing the marketing and sales strategy is done in collaboration with Iron Roots, a clothing brand for sustainable sportswear. The experiments this group conduct take place in BlueCity Lab in Rotterdam, in the former Tropicana swimming pool. After these two years of research and experiments, the entrepreneurs know which colours can be produced by the fungi and how to use them in products. The ambition of the entire consortium is to open a pilot factory in the Rotterdam region within five years’ time.

Nominated for the ASN World Prize 2021
Fabulous Fungi is one of the 30 nominees for the ASN World Prize 2021, an important starting point for many high potential social and circular companies. Kremer hopes to be in the final on November 10th, and finds support from a circle of experts in the run-up to the finals. Things have moved fast since Kremer published her graduation work at the Dutch Design Week 2020 and in the national media. She is approached from various sides whether she can already supply pigments and whether she could use help. Experts in the field of marketing and applying natural pigments are certainly welcome to approach the startup. Kremer expects to start pre selling products at the end of next year and start working with investors the year after.

From graduation research to startup
Fungi can grow on all kinds of substances, such as cane, other sugars and fibre-rich crops. The first prototypes that Fabulous Fungi developed as a graduation project at the Willem de Kooning Academy show that various fungi can produce beautiful, bright colours. Nick van Biezen, owner at Bio-aNAlytiX and fungi expert and Kremer met in BlueCity Lab and decided to work together to conduct the experiments needed to make Fabulous Fungi a market-ready company. Iron Roots is affiliated with Fabulous Fungi as a launching partner because the clothing brand wants to be as sustainable as possible in everything they do.

Follow the consortium on social media to stay informed about the experiments.

Nick van Biezen – Bio-aNAlytiX van Biezen

Are you curious about what the clothes that have already been made look like in real life? Visit us at SYMBIOSIS festival on Friday afternoon, November 19, where Fabulous Fungi can be seen in an exhibition in the old pool area of BlueCity.