Hermès and MycoWork start producing mushroom leather bags

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We’ve talked about Hermès’ vegan leather initiatives before, but things are finally looking up for the French luxury design house’s collaboration with MycoWorks, a San Francisco-based biotech company working on an alternative to mushroom leather.

The company that was backed by Hermès proved that it could maintain the desired level of product while achieving production runs for the brand. For this reason, the company has received new funding worth US$125 million, which will be used to build a new production facility in South Carolina.

Learn more about the mushroom leather alternative:

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 for brands looking to go the sustainable route. For its first collaboration with Hermès, 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 the mushroom. 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.

Because the material is customizable, the texture can be changed to the buyer’s preference, including its thickness and feel. 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 leather alternatives. Recently, Gucci also developed their own vegan leather called Demetra, which they used in Ace Sneakers. Stella McCartney, a brand already associated with sustainable luxury, works with Bolt Thread’s mylo material.

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Main and feature image credit: mycoworks/Instagram. The story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore


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