Photo credit: Stella McCartney
Recently, British designer, Stella McCartney created vegan leather pants and a bustier top to show the luxurious potential of Mylo, a vegan leather grown from mushroom root systems. She unveiled the world’s first-ever garment set made with mushroom-based vegan leather Mylo™️ created from mushroom leather.
Mylo is environmentally superior to animal-derived leather in a variety of areas, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions and lowered water and land use. It is also made without animal cruelty. The mushroom leather is also not petroleum-based like many synthetic leathers, which allows more fossil fuels to be kept in the ground and less plastic to be deposited into landfills and oceans.
The innovative material, developed by biotechnology startup Bolt Threads, to create garments. Created at McCartney’s atelier in London, both the bustier and trousers are made with recycled scuba nylon and panels of Mylo, which is a material made by Bolt Threads from fast-growing mycelium (mushroom root systems). The avant-garde garments are not available for purchase but were created to show the potential of Mylo, which McCartney will feature in future designs.
“I believe the Stella community should never have to compromise luxury desirability for sustainability, and Mylo allows us to make that a reality,” McCartney said. “These rare, exclusive 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.”
Consisting of a black bodice and a pair of balloon-leg trousers, the rare, exclusive pieces mark a major step forward in the fight to make fashion an industry that’s kinder to the planet.
According to news site Standard.co.ok, “This state-of-the-art process is designed to have a minimal environmental impact and takes days, not years like raising cattle. It requires 17,000 litres of water to produce a kilogram of leather, with animal agriculture accounting for approximately 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and driving the destruction of vital ecosystems; 70-80 per cent of the Amazon’s deforested area is now used for cattle pastures.
Dan Widmaier, CEO and founder of Bolt Threads, said, “Creating new, high-quality biomaterials is a major technological challenge and a massive opportunity for people and the planet. I am incredibly grateful and humbled by Stella and her team for their long-term partnership and support in bringing Mylo to the world”. He continued, “The material used in these two garments not only represents a huge step forward in both aesthetics and performance of biomaterials, but also marks the beginning of the rollout of product-ready Mylo. This is tangible progress toward large-scale production where Mylo can make a significant positive impact on our planet.”
Leather-Free Future Of Fashion
McCartney and Bolt Threads have been collaborating since 2017 to bring more environmentally and animal-friendly materials to the fashion industry. In 2018, McCartney created the first product to ever use Mylo—a mushroom-leather prototype of her iconic Falabella bag that was showcased at Victoria and Albert Museum’s Fashioned from Nature exhibition in London.
“The material used in these two garments not only represents a huge step forward in both aesthetics and performance of biomaterials, but also marks the beginning of the rollout of product-ready Mylo™️. This is tangible progress toward large-scale production where Mylo™️ can make a significant positive impact on our planet,” said Dan Widmaier, Bolt Threads CEO and founder.
“Creating new, high-quality biomaterials is a major technological challenge and a massive opportunity for people and planet. I am incredibly grateful and humbled by Stella and her team for their long-term partnership and support in bringing Mylo™️ to the world.”
While McCartney is the first to showcase Mylo in her concept designs, Adidas, Kering, LuluLemon are the other major brand names in the consortium which have secured exclusive access to Mylo. These brands will begin bringing products featuring Mylo to market in 2021.
Other companies are also working to create mushroom leather alternatives to animal hides. California-based MycoWorks is currently working with luxury label Hermès to release a new version of its Victoria handbag, a portion of which is made using Sylvania—the startup’s mushroom-based “Fine Mycelium” vegan leather—by the end of the year.