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The Mushrooms You Can Wear and Build With

There’s no doubt mushrooms are having a moment.

From the popular Netflix documentary Fantastic Fungi, to the surge of medical trials exploring the use of a compound found in hallucinogenic species as a treatment for depression, a mushroom boom is alive and kicking. But there’s one part of fungi that businesses are now especially tapping into, and that’s mycelium, the root structure of a mushroom.

In San Francisco, a company called MycoWorks is growing mycelium to produce a leather substitute called “Reishi”. Using this material it is now making everything from hats to wallets, handbags and bowls.

“Mycelium-grown Reishi is an incredible material, and the first of its kind that doesn’t use plastic as a core ingredient,” says Sophia Wang, MycoWorks co-founder.

“It is grown using three organic materials – water, sawdust and mycelium, which keeps carbon emissions low.”

She adds that the luxury goods sector is currently showing the most interest in the company’s work. MycoWorks has already helped Hermès produce a handbag partly made from its mycelium, and it has formed a collaboration with hat-maker Nick Fouquet.

Read the full article by Suzanne Bearne on BBC.