Mushroom to grow: Major brands sign on to accelerate mycelium leather

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In California, major brands have formed a consortium with Bolt Threads to commercialize mycelium-based leather in 2021. Adidas, Stella McCartney, Lululemon and Kering, which owns Gucci, have invested “seven figures” in the material, dubbed Mylo by producer Bolt Threads. Creating a market for the material will accelerate economies of scale, consortium members say.

“What we are trying to do with Mylo is scaling it beyond where biomaterials have been—relegated to one-offs or museum pieces—and instead making it a material that millions and tens of millions of people can wear every day,” Jamie Bainbridge, Bolt Threads vice president of product development, tells Dezeen.

The investment secures exclusive rights to the material. “In our current stage, we are dependent on large brands to help subsidize the massive costs it takes to figure out how to make Mylo at a commercial scale,” adds Bainbridge. “These companies are enabling us to develop a process that will eventually produce a high-quality leather alternative at a comparable price to leather hide but that’s going to take a few years.”

Mylo is grown from mycelium cells and can be used to recreate the look and texture of real leather. The process emits less greenhouse gas and consumes less water than conventional animal leather.