Written for Fashion Journal

Move aside pineapple leather, there’s now another sustainable leather alternative about to hit the market. And it’s made from mushrooms.

Bolt Threads, a startup specialising in new and innovative materials for the fashion industry, is soon to debut handbags made from the root structure of mushrooms.

Dubbed Mycelium, the fabric is far more sustainable than animal leather. When compared to sourcing leather from cattle, growing mycelium in a lab is a renewable and low-impact process.

Sourcing mycelium-based leather begins with the farming of mycelium cells. These cells are grown in the beds of corn stalks with supplemental nutrients to feed and expand. Billions of cells grow and form an interconnected 3D network, which is then compressed to make a 2D material. After tanning and dying, the result is Mylo.

Much like leather, Mylo is strong and durable but has the feel of a dense foam with a pebbled texture.

While a collection of luxury Mylo handbags won’t be on the market until June, a creation from Stella McCartney is already on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The fashion designer has also used Bolt Threads Microsilk (a environmentally-friendly, synthetic spider silk) in her designs, in the past.