There’s About to Be a Lot More Mushroom Leather
Inside a small factory in Emeryville, California, in trays filled with sawdust, the biomaterials startup MycoWorks is growing mycelium—the root-like part of mushrooms—to create dense layers of a material that looks, feels, and bends like leather made from cows. The pilot plant, which has been in operation over the last year, can only produce the material in small volumes. But the company just raised $125 million in a Series C funding round, which it will now use to build a mass-production facility in South Carolina.
For the fashion brands that are beginning to use the material—like Hermès, which is making a luxury handbag from one version of the mushroom leather—it’s a way to avoid the environmental and ethical problems that come with animal leather without turning to synthetic alternatives made from plastic.
“The industry is in a bit of a conundrum where they have to meet these new sustainability demands that consumers are placing on them,” says Matt Scullin, CEO of MycoWorks. “And they also have to grow.”
Read the full article by Adele Peters on Fast Company