Although there were no commercial products widely available at that time, Widmaier revealed that Bolt Threads was investing in a million square feet of factory capacity to make Mylo (the name given to the mushroom leather), and that the first Mylo cloth was due to start rolling off the line sometime last year.
In October2020, Stella McCartney was announced as part of an exclusive consortium of brands working with Mylo™️, and today the British designer has unveiled the world’s first ever garments created from the mushroom leather.
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.
“I believe the Stella community should never have to compromise luxury desirability for sustainability, and Mylo™️ allows us to make that a reality,” says McCartney, who’s avoided leather, feathers, fur or skins in her designs since day one and created a prototype of her iconic Falabella bag using Mylo back in 2018, which debuted as part of the V&A’s Fashioned from Nature exhibition that year.
Both Mylo™️garments, which have been modelled by long-term animal rights supporter Paris Jackson for the launch, were handcrafted from panels of the mycelium-based material laid on recycled nylon scuba at the brand’s atelier in London. Mylo™️ is a soft, substantial material that is certified bio-based, meaning it is made predominantly from renewable ingredients found in nature. Scientists at Bolt Threads have learned how to reproduce what happens under the forest floor, where mycelium grows best, in a lab to create Mylo™️ with mulch, air and water – spawning an entirely new category of material science.
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 per cent 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.
Mylo™️ is also not petroleum-based, unlike synthetic leathers, meaning more fossil fuels can be kept in the ground and less plastic is deposited into landfills and oceans.
“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 neither of the black Mylo pieces are for sale, Stella has plans to integrate the brilliantly clever, sustainable fabric into future collections.