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— An Inspiring Collaboration Between Nick Fouquet and MycoWorks

THE FRENCH-AMERICAN HATMAKER WORKING WITH REISHI™

THE FRENCH-AMERICAN HATMAKER WORKING WITH REISHI™ Our Partnership

“There is a place. Like nowhere on Earth. A land full of wonders, mysteries and dangers! Some say to survive: you have to be mad as a hatter. Which, luckily, I am.”

It’s an early morning in Venice Beach. On the air are notes of freshly pressed green juices, a waft of smoke, the ocean breeze. A little off the beaten path, toward the end of Abbot Kinney is the storefront, jutting out on a street corner at an oblique angle. Suddenly, a black pickup truck comes blasting around the corner, splitting the crisp quiet. That must be Nick.

Today, bespoke hat maker Nick Fouquet introduces a limited collection of three styles of hats Made with Reishi™ to the world – the Coprinus, Morchella, and Reishi™ Boletus. A milestone in MycoWorks’ journey to Grow the Future of Materials, with this collection MycoWorks makes Reishi™, the world’s first premium Fine Mycelium™ leather alternative, commercially available for the first time. Included in the collection is the Reishi™ Boletus, the world’s first object made entirely from Reishi™: an inspired partnership between Nick Fouquet and Mycoworks spun from our shared passion for customized expression, master craftsmanship, and artistic inspiration. Explore the collection here.

Nick Fouquet: French American psychedelia-inspired, celebrity milliner with a wayward turn from environmental science into hat making—lucky for the world, lucky for all of us. His hatmaking: creative pilgrimage, exceptional talent, experimental slant, a studied devotion to historical craft, wisps of old Western American nostalgia. His hats: each a world unto itself, dynamic and exploring, modern sculpted pieces infused with deep knowledge of past traditions, crafted from wool, straw, leather, felt, beaver fur, and adventure. The Reishi™ Boletus: the very first object for purchase entirely Made with Reishi™—shaped with the singular originality and storytelling that only an expert artisanal maker can bring.

For this collection Nick chose an early generation of Reishi™ cotton sheets—a soft, earthy version of our material that is 100% natural and plastic-free. Their raw grain and one-of-a-kind texture mirror his aesthetic; the soft, natural patina, unique from sheet to sheet, renders each individual hat its own distinct work of art.

“I was just so excited, especially with those early sheets that had this brindling and natural patina, and when you smell it, it’s like this isn’t leather, it smells different, but it’s like leather.” – Nick Fouquet

For our first Made with Reishi™ product available for purchase we chose to collaborate with Nick Fouquet, a partner fitting of the milestone that this moment represents for MycoWorks. Nick shows an understanding of our material born out of his passion for conscious materials sourcing and creative experimentation. The sophisticated leatherwork skills required in hat making along with Nick’s one-of-a-kind interpretation of the craft make this partnership a fitting way for Reishi™ to take its opening bow.

“MycoWorks has always partnered with best-in-class, luxury craftspeople and is continuing its legacy with famed designer, Nick Fouquet. This collection of Reishi hats exhibits the unique hand and versatility of our materials,” says Sophia Wang, MycoWorks co-founder and Chief of Culture.

“The perfect hat for me is using the best materials, and the time and the craft that it takes to make it one of a kind. To me that’s what a perfect hat has to be: it has a story for it.” – Nick Fouquet

So, what’s the story of this hat collection Made with Reishi™?

Down the rabbit hole is where everything begins….

— A story rooted in master craftsmanship

The Artisan’s Eye

We find ourselves at Nick’s storefront one crisp morning, partnering on the launch of the first Made with Reishi™ hat collection. Inside his Venice workshop, we journey through a dark hallway, following Nick. The far end of the passageway opens up, and suddenly we’re in this whole world of hats. Felt hats, leather hats, cowboy hats. Hats made, hats yet to be made, half-thoughts of hats.

“Hat making is an old artform all over the world,” Nick says. “But especially in America there’s a nostalgia to it. A lot of the story of expanding in the west has to do with hat making and acquiring materials.”

With this collection, Nick Fouquet becomes the first designer to make a hat with Reishi™—a completely new bio-fabricated material. What does Nick bring to MycoWorks’ story that only an artisan maker like him can?

To create the first hat entirely Made with Reishi™ is to bring the most traditional skills of hat making to an entirely new material. When it comes to that expanding frontier, both a spirit of adventure and attention to craft are needed in equal measure.

“We look to the artisans,” says MycoWorks co-founder Phil Ross. “That’s our creative ethos at MycoWorks. That’s what’s going to tell us a lot more about our materials.”

Working with Reishi™, a completely natural and new, non-animal biomaterial, a craftsperson uses the same leather-working tools and skills that they’ve acquired over a lifetime of working with leather.

In Nick’s studio space, there’s a room dedicated to old machines. Stacks of books tucked away on worktables of fabrics and feathers. There’s a chart of different brim sizes, dictating a code for folding hat brims: a hat language based on how you bend and fold, front right, back left.

Before all else, Nick Fouquet is a master craftsperson. Tradition in hat making runs very deep; it’s a trade that commands great respect—and requires a high level of skill.

“When Nick Fouquet received our material, that same day he made a hat from start to finish, entirely out of Reishi™,” says Fred Martel, SVP of Sales and Business Development at MycoWorks.

“When I started working with it I felt like it was a hybrid between fabric and leather,” Nick says. “And it really aligned with what I do as far as aging the materials—the Reishi™ sheets I selected have some of those characteristics.”

MycoWorks’ Fine Mycelium™ is a process to grow mycelium – the infinitely renewable root structure of mushrooms – to designers’ exact specifications for hand feel, texture, strength, and more. Nick presents his version of an artisanal use of Reishi™ that gives people a chance to experience it, to wear it. This is one of many, many ways of creating with this material. Reishi™’s resemblance to leather gives it that sense of continuity, an aura of heritage—but this is a brand new, biofabricated breakthrough.

— Traditional leather craft meets a pioneering biomaterial

New Frontiers

Nick has an aesthetic sense of space. The ocean air flows through his shop in a way that makes us feel like we’re both inside and outside—fitting for someone who makes hats. Wherever you look, your curiosity grows. Everything feels both whimsical and carefully tended. On several tables, sheets of Reishi™ in several natural hues are laid out, in various stages of transformation.

To be a pioneer: that’s what intrigues Nick Fouquet the most.

“I’ve always been fascinated with experimenting,” says Nick. “And with headwear I was always fascinated by using different materials and by what I can implement with what’s out there.”

Reishi™ is a pioneering biomaterial, completely new in the history of materials—the world’s first natural material with the strength and hand feel of the finest animal leathers. That’s what makes the Reishi™ Boletus so unique: it’s the first object for purchase created entirely with this unprecedented material.

Nick is creating this collection from some of our most unique Reishi™—a soft, earthy version of our material, 100% natural and plastic-free. Each sheet has its own character and traces of its making like burled wood—a perfect fit for Nick’s raw, unfiltered style.

“He honors the craft and tradition,” says Mette Qvistgaard, Executive Producer at MycoWorks. “It’s almost like realizing the only way forward is by going back. He has chosen a way of walking into the future by keeping this traditional craft alive—but with a brand new material.”

The aura of old Europe reinterpreted with a brand new, bio-fabricated material. A new generation hatter working a new generation of material amid the melting pot of Venice.

“Nick’s understanding of our material and the way he has used our sheets really underscores that Reishi™ is not leather; Reishi™ is a premium material,” says Fred.

“Reishi™ definitely lends its hand to a new frontier,” says Nick.

— A SHARED CURIOSITY FOR THE FUTURE

The Spark of Creativity

Nick is part of the tapestry of Venice; it’s evident in how he moves around and connects with friends and guests who visit his shop. “I get my inspiration in so many unpredictable ways: walking down the street, seeing a car, seeing a color. I try not to overthink it because I just don’t want it to stop.” In his shop, an old barber chair anchors the showroom: here, customers receive personalized consultations and fit adjustments.

“The artisan finds a way to connect to his customer’s desire,” says Phil Ross. “The artisan can put their hand on the material, and it receives their impression —whatever it is. That’s the beauty of it. Reishi™ is a lot like leather or clay in that way: it’s whatever the artist brings to it.”

“We are elated that consumers can finally wear and enjoy designs made with Reishi™,” says Sophia Wang, MycoWorks co-founder and Chief of Culture.

“In creating a hat made entirely with Reishi™, Nick has underscored the exclusivity of our material,” says Fred Martel, SVP of Sales and Business Development at MycoWorks.

“Nick has shown that Reishi™ isn’t just something to be used for embellishment—it can be the star, the hero product.” says Fred.

Watching these hats come to life in Nick Fouquet’s workshop, it’s like staring into a mirror: we see our beginnings in art and our devotion to quality reflected back to us. We share a sense of curiosity and excitement about the future. The first inklings of something new.

“In the future, when someone shows their grandfather’s Nick Fouquet Made with Reishi™ hat, just like we discover an old musician or band in the past, there’ll be this nostalgia. It’s like a coveted and secret society. They’ll say, ‘I remember when Nick told me about this natural material that was known by just a few, as he was fitting my hat. In his chair, one-on-one. It was as if he were sharing a secret map to hidden treasure, that’s how special it felt,’” says Nick Fouquet.

It’s certainly just the start of a very long adventure. A journey where craftsmanship leads to new frontiers, which lead on pioneering paths back to creativity again.

“There will always be a home for Reishi™ in terms of what I do,” says Nick. “Time will tell, there’s so much more runway.”

Curiouser, and curiouser….

Reishi™ by Nick Fouquet: Explore the collection here.