The French luxury fashion brand Hermès partners with Californian mycelium-based material startup MycoWorks to launch a mushroom-based ‘leather’ travel bag made from fine mycelium. They have planned to release its first leather handbag made out of fine mycelium, a patented technology material startup MycoWorks.
Mushroom produces a fine network of threads that form the vegetative part of the organism called mycelium. During the cultivation process, these are grown and fine-tuned in sheets called ‘Fine Mycelium.’ This creates biomaterials that pose the same fundamental qualities to that of leather such as durability and hand feel, versatility, and performance in strength, thus attracting fashion manufacturers.
The new line of Hermès travel bags will be made of canvas, calfskin, and “Sylvania”- which is a mushroom-derived, amber-hued material. The development of a new material called Sylvania, which was manufactured in the MycoWorks facility using both natural and biotech materials, took about three years. The bag has been tanned and completed in France by Hermès tanners and is an interpretation of the ‘Victoria’ bag.
CEO of MycoWorks, Matt Scullin said that in any new technology or art, the key is the power of storytelling. The story related to Hermès is that fine mycelium was rooted in artistic practice and craftsmanship. The unique biotechnology approach of MycoWorks was recognized by Hermès for enhancing a natural material which implies that fine mycelium had the potential to be the highest quality mycelium in the world.
Pierre-Alexis Dumas, Artistic Director of Hermès, told how MycoWork’s vision and values coincide with the company's "quest for excellence. Their aim is to ensure that objects are put to their best use so that their longevity is maximized with Sylvania.
This isn't the first collaboration of Hermès as this luxury brand has collaborated with Apple to create a leather strap for the Apple Watch in 2015. Hermès mushroom-inspired handbags will be available by the end of this year.
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