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Mar 18, 2021
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Stella McCartney is first to use Mylo mushroom leather for clothing

Published
Mar 18, 2021

It’s being hailed as a world first and will doubtless give Stella McCartney a wider global platform in her drive for fashion sustainability. The designer has launched ‘leather’ clothing grown from mushrooms.


Stella McCartney


It's all part of a major trend with ethical footwear producer Allbirds having claimed “world first” status last month with its new plant-based ‘leather’ sneaker.

But first McCartney. The lifelong vegan, outspoken environmentalist and anti-fur, -feather and -hide campaigner teamed up with Californian biotech company Bold Threads last year, securing access to its innovative material, Mylo. It’s described as ‘un-leather’, is grown from mycelium, the vegetative part of the fungus, and is hailed as “infinitely renewable”.

The result is a long bralette and a pair of balloon-leg utility pants, modelled by animal rights supporter Paris Jackson for the launch.

The pieces were handcrafted from panels of the mycelium-based material laid on recycled nylon scuba at the brand’s atelier in London. The soft, substantial material is certified as bio-based, meaning it’s made predominantly from renewable ingredients found in nature.

“I believe the Stella community should never have to compromise luxury desirability for sustainability, and Mylo¸ allows us to make that a reality”, said McCartney,

The story began last October when McCartney announced she had became part of an "unprecedented consortium” of major global companies “who have secured exclusive access to the innovative material". These also include luxury goods group Kering and sportswear giants Adidas and Lululemon. But McCartney has obviously got a lead on her peers.

McCartney has been working closely with Bolt’s team ever since the announcement to develop and scale the resulting launch. That included perfecting the material’s weight, drape, and texture. 

Dan Widmaier, Bolt Threads CEO and founder, said the material used in the two garments marks a huge step forward in both aesthetics and performance of biomaterials. 

He added it's both a major technological challenge and a "massive opportunity for people and planet". 

As mentioned, it comes after shoe specialist Allbirds last month launched a sneaker made from plastic-free plant leather. Allbirds said it had invested $2 million into material innovation firm Natural Fiber Welding. The footwear maker, known for its sustainable materials such as fabrics made from renewable eucalyptus trees and shoe soles from sugarcane, said its latest product is based on Natural Fiber Welding’s Mirum technology for the first 100% natural plant-based ‘leather’.

The Plant Leather is made using vegetable oil, natural rubber and other bio-ingredients, and Allbirds said that it's also very scalable. The company claims it has 40 times less carbon impact than leather and 17 times less carbon than synthetic leather made from plastic.

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