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Mylo is a lab-grown material made from the mycelium of mushroom. (all images courtesy of Mylo)

There’s great news for vegan leather queens, mycologists, fashionistas, and people who like making the pun “fun guy” about fungi: this week, Stella McCartney presented an outfit featuring Mylo. The legacy fashion house, which was the first to stop using leather, fur, or skins, debuted a black bustier top and futuristic-looking harem pants made of vegan lab-grown mushroom leather. It’s the perfect option for the dominatrix that loves to be tough on their clients but draws the line at animal cruelty.

The “leather” is made of mycelium — the root network of mushrooms — and is a product of Bolt Threads, a materials solutions company that leverages the incredible power of nature to create eco-friendly alternatives to animal-based textiles. In addition to subverting the need to slaughter cows for leather, Mylo is also a much more planet-friendly option compared to plastic-based leather substitutes.

Currently, Bolt Threads is partnered with Adidas, Kering, and lululemon, in addition to Stella McCartney, in bringing mushroom leather to market, and has also found a way to mass-produce spider silk fiber “microsilk” that can biodegrade at the end of its useful life. What was once the stuff of speculative fiction is now fashion reality and offers some hope in an industry notorious for waste.

The Stella McCartney outfit is not for sale, but is meant to “embody the potential of this next-generation material and pave the way for future commercial offerings,” according to the brand’s website. For now, we can only dream of a time — not too far off — when the wokest among us will virtue signal by broadcasting the fact that their yoga pants are made of mushrooms. Exciting times!

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Sarah Rose Sharp

Sarah Rose Sharp is a Detroit-based writer, activist, and multimedia artist. She has shown work in New York, Seattle, Columbus and Toledo, OH, and Detroit — including at the Detroit Institute of Arts....

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2 Comments

  1. I think it’s important to give big props to the originator of fabricating with mycelium, Phil Ross, who first created mycelial architectural works (“Mycotecture”), and more recently founded MycoWorks (a competitor in the mushroom leather space)– https://www.mycoworks.com/. Phil taught so many people his techniques back in the day, and his generous open-source spirit is never acknowledged by companies that took up the work; some (like Ecovative) directly learned from him.

  2. Totally agree with Marina Zurkow’s comment. Phil Ross has been working on this medium forever, first in his sculptural practice and now in fashion and other biotech applications. Credit where credit is due!

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