It is a simple mushroom root, which grows here and there in the middle of nature, but is on its way to a revolution in the fashion industry and with it our dressing room. The mycelium, which was science fiction only a few months ago, is about to enter the luxury market through Stella McCartney, who will launch a first bag in July based on this vegan alternative with animal leather.
Who would have believed that? The mushroom could – and sooner than expected – become the star of our hives. Several companies specializing in biotechnology have been working on this ingredient for several years to develop a vegan material reminiscent of the appearance of leather, creating a real craze in the fashion sector. Until now, however, the use had only come about through a handful of products, in combination with other materials, including (genuine) leather, such as Hermès with a unique version of the Victoria bag.
But under Stella McCartney’s leadership, things could accelerate in July. The designer, who unveiled a first mushroom silhouette in 2021, will be offering this summer the very first bag in the world in Mylo, a material made of myceliumthe vegetative part of the mushroom formed from filaments, which would be “infinitely renewable”† The Frayme Mylo bag, designed in collaboration with Bolt Threads, is only available in: limited edition of 100 copiesbut it already sounds like a revolution in an industry looking for sustainable solutions with respect for animal welfare.
The mycelium that conquers fashion
Fashion players are gradually turning to more sustainable alternatives to animal leather, such as cactus, banana, corn, apple, grape or pineapple. But these new types of materials were quickly overshadowed by the fungal root, or mycelium, which seems to be of great importance to the largest luxury houses, as well as more mainstream brands. And all indications are that it could soon establish itself as the material of the future.
The start-up MycoWorks, which is working on mycelium as a vegan alternative to leather, recently raised $125 million to mass-produce this now-famous ‘mushroom leather’. This fundraiser is used to: launch of the first large-scale production plant of Fine Mycelium, the innovative technology on which the mycelium-based materials, including Reishi, are based.
Features similar to leather
Thanks to the patented Fine Mycelium process, MycoWorks allows it to produce natural materials with the same properties as animal leather, with a lower environmental impact† A technology that seems to have conquered the most prominent leather goods manufacturer in the world, Hermès, who therefore, together with MycoWorks, developed a first bag made partly from mushroom fibres.
Nestled in South Carolina, MycoWorks’ new facility will build on the company’s semi-automatic pilot plant in California, which has been in operation for a year, and could produce several hundred thousand square feet of fine material. reports the start-up itself in a press release. After Hermès, MycoWorks announces that it already has contracts with “several major global luxury brands”without specifying the names, and that this large-scale production could make the prices of products based on its mycelium much more accessible than is currently the case.
And as we have already seen, MycoWorks is not the only start-up to participate in the ‘mushroom leather’ race. The start-up Bolt Threads Inc., behind Mylo, works hand in hand with fashion industry giants including adidas, Kering and… Stella McCartney. It remains to be seen, therefore, how the public will receive this material, which an entire industry – or almost – considers innovative, even revolutionary.
(ETX Daily Up)