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More than just ‘mushroom leather’

Quality advances achieved via enhanced growth conditions and a patent-pending tanning approach.

24th July 2023

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Union, SC, USA

Transport/​Aerospace, Clothing/​Footwear

MycoWorks is launching three new Reishi products – Doux, Natural and Pebble – manufactured at the world’s first commercial-scale Fine Mycelium factory in Union, South Carolina, and said to exceed the performance levels required of some animal leathers by the luxury products industry.

Prototypes of MycoWorks Fine Mycelium leather-like material were first unveiled in 2016, featuring both durability and softness, but relatively low tensile strength. Recent breakthroughs are said to bring Reishi to a new level of performance in terms of softness, durability, flexibility, finish adhesion, tear strength, abrasion resistance and homogeneity.

“Heritage-level quality can only be achieved with long-term dedication to discovery, paired with a commitment to craft and the transmission of deep expertise,” observed MycoWorks board member and former CEO of Hermès, Patrick Thomas. “The MycoWorks Fine Mycelium platform is built on these principles, bringing together artisanal mastery with a rigorous approach to material innovation in a scalable way.

MycoWorks brand partners already include Hermès, General Motors, Ligne Roset, Heron Preston and Nick Fouquet.

“With these new Reishi articles, MycoWorks and its brand partners are excited to enter commercialisation cycles,” said CEO Matt Scullin. “While most plant or mycelium-based alternative materials use plastic to meet baseline performance standards, we have spent ten years taking no shortcuts, in order to achieve the biotech innovations behind our proprietary process. Operating vertically –owning our entire technology stack, rather than licensing and outsourcing – has given us the depth of expertise required to bring a new material to market.”

The Fine Mycelium platform is powerful in its tunability and results in fully grown biomaterial sheet rather than an added mycelium ingredient as found in other “mushroom leather”.

The recent quality advances were achieved via a combination of enhanced growth conditions and a fundamentally new, patent-pending tanning approach developed in-house.

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