Mushroom leather could be a viable alternative to the luxury segment


MycoWorks, a San Francisco-based biotech company, has been working on an alternative to mushroom leather and is now ready to develop it. The company which was backed by the French luxury design house Hermès proved that it could maintain the desired level of product while achieving production runs for the brand.

Additionally, the company also received new funding worth $125 million which will be used to build a new production facility in South Carolina.

Learn more about the mushroom leather alternative

What do we know about this?

The alternative to mushroom leather is a fine mycelium material known as Reishi. More than 10,000 trays of the sustainable alternative were produced in the first factory last year with the aim of proving that the desired quantity and quality can be achieved.

The funding will make Reishi more readily available to brands looking to go the sustainable route. MycoWorks will collaborate with high-end brands, including Hermès. For the first collaboration between the two brands, MycoWorks customized the Hermès Victoria bag in 2021 with its Sylvania material. There will be many more high-end collaborations to come according to MycoWorks CEO Matt Scullin.

How is mushroom leather made?

Reishi, which is a fine mycelium, is made from the renewable root structure of fungus (mushrooms). This structure is used to make a customizable material that looks like animal leather. Apart from texture, the durability of alternative leather would also be similar to that of animal leather.

Since the material is customizable, the texture can be changed according to the buyer’s preference, including the changing width and feel of the material. Former investors in the company also include Grammy-winning singer John Legend and Academy-winning actress Natalie Portman.

Market competitors

The fashion world is currently moving towards more sustainable and vegan alternatives to leather and MycoWorks is trying to provide exactly what the market wants. However, this is not an untapped space. Recently, Gucci developed their own vegan leather called Demetra which they used in Ace Sneakers and which will soon be available in the rest of the world. Stella McCartney, a brand already associated with sustainable luxury, works with Bolt Thread’s mylo material.

(Main and feature image credit: mycoworks/Instagram)

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India


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