Story of the Month
à la Mode

Seana Gavin collages, ‘Mindful Mushroom’ & ‘Model Mushroom’ shown in Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi‘ at Somerset House, London, July – September, 2020. Images courtesy of the artist.

Mushrooms have been forming under the surface of luxury trends for a while now, with fashion houses picking them as visuals including Paul Smith, Gucci, Fiorucci, Stüssy, Marc Jacobs and Loewe. Forever fascinating, and eternally misunderstood, the fungi family are inspirational for many reasons, not just for their alien appearance and psychotropic properties!


Mycelium, the vegetative part of the fungus, consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae, has been forming on the headlines this month as an emerging bio-based material!

Mycelium, the thread-like vegetative part of a fungus (image courses GETTY Images)

On March 11th, when luxury house Hermes announced they were to begin using the bio-fabricated leather solution Fine Mycelium™ – a material they developed in collaboration with Myco Works, California, over the last three years – it was a clear sign that bio-fabricated leather alternatives were being accepted by the luxury industry. Myco Works’ ‘Sylvania’ material is fabricated in California, with custom-grown mycelium that is finely tuned for fullness and the highest performance standards, before being tanned and finished in French ateliers by the Hermes artisans to their unique specification. The first item to be made using ‘Sylvania’, the classic Victoria Bag, will be available to purchase by the end of 2021.

Reishi Fine Mycelium, a premium, biofabricated leather solution by Myco Works. (photos courtesy Myco Works)

“MycoWorks’ vision and values echo those of Hermès: a strong fascination with natural raw material and its transformation, a quest for excellence, with the aim of ensuring that objects are put to their best use and that their longevity is maximized. With Sylvania, Hermès is at the heart of what it has always been: innovation in the making.” Pierre-Alexis Dumas, Hermès Artistic Director


A week later, on March 17th, sustainable pioneer Stella McCartney, renowned for her refusal to use leather and animal-derived products in her designs, announced her own mycelium-based range, using Mylo.

Stella McCartney x Mylo™️ garments (photos courtesy Stella McCartney)

In 2016 McCartneybegan a pioneering collaboration with Bolt Threads in California, which has resulted in the bio un-leather ‘Mylo’. At first, it was a rather stiff material, which they used to create a Mylo prototype of her Falabella bag for the Victoria & Albert Museum’s “Fashioned From Nature” exhibit in 2018. Last Fall she brought on board Kering, Adidas and Lululemon to invest in Bolt Threads and now she releases the first pieces of ready to wear mycelium-based leather pieces, using a newer, softer, version of Mylo.


These rare, exclusive Mylo™️ pieces embody our shared commitment with Bolt Threads to innovate a kinder fashion industry – one that sees the birth of beautiful, luxurious materials as opposed to the deaths of our fellow creatures and planet.Stella McCartney

Mylo un-leather (photos courtesy Mylo)

This is surely just the beginning of the mycelium bio-fabricated biotech material revolution … To see a selection of our eco-materials, click this link !