It may be fashion week in Paris, with showgoers in face coverings parsing runway looks from the latest designer ready-to-wear collections, but several thousand miles away from the French capital, out of the dank, dark belly of an industrial hangar, a potentially more momentous industry trend is … growing.
Mushroom leather might not sound stylish. But Bolt Threads, a start-up that specializes in developing next-generation fibers inspired by nature, is one of a growing number of companies convinced that the material is a viable replacement — in both form and function — for animal-sourced and synthetic skins.
In 2018, Bolt Threads began producing limited-edition products made from Mylo, a material made from mycelium, the branching network of threadlike cells that underpins all fungi. Now they are preparing to bring that technology to the world, thanks to an unconventional consortium of backers (and rivals) from across the fashion spectrum.