British fashion designer Stella McCartney has unveiled the first-ever garments made with Mylo, a vegan, sustainable, animal-free leather alternative made from mycelium, the infinitely renewable underground root system of fungi, developed by California-based Bolt Threads.
McCartney has used Bolt Threads’ trademarked Mylo fabric for two garments, a black bustier top and utilitarian trousers. Both were handcrafted from panels of the mycelium-based material laid on recycled nylon scuba at the brand’s atelier in London.
The sporty styles have been designed to showcase McCartney’s signature dichotomy of feminine and masculine attitudes in line with its summer 2021 and autumn 2021 collections.
While McCartney made be the first luxury house to unveil garments created with Mylo, the British designer states that the two pieces are not for sale but added that she has plans to integrate the leathery fabric into future collections.
“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 in a statement. “These rare, exclusive pieces embody our shared commitment with Bolt Threads to innovate a kinder fashion industry - one that sees the birth of beautiful, luxurious materials as opposed to the deaths of our fellow creatures and planet.”
Stella McCartney teams up with Bolt Threads on sustainable, animal-free leather alternative
Dan Widmaier, chief executive and founder of Bolt Threads, added: “Creating new, high-quality biomaterials is a major technological challenge and a massive opportunity for people and planet. I am incredibly grateful and humbled by Stella and her team for their long-term partnership and support in bringing Mylo to the world.
“The material used in these two garments not only represents a huge step forward in both aesthetics and performance of biomaterials, but also marks the beginning of the rollout of product-ready Mylo. This is tangible progress toward large-scale production where Mylo can make a significant positive impact on our planet.”
In October 2020, Bolt Threads announced that it was introducing Mylo fabric, which looks and feels like leather, as part of an exclusive consortium of brands, including McCartney, alongside Adidas, Kering and Lululemon.
Bolt Threads targets large-scale production for its sustainable leather alternative Mylo
The process of making Mylo is entirely cruelty-free and has been designed to reduce environmental impacts. Mylo is a soft, substantial material that is certified bio-based, meaning it is made predominantly from renewable ingredients found in nature today. Mycelium is regenerative and thrives abundantly in the wild feeding on natural resources.
Scientists at Bolt Threads have learnt how to reproduce what happens under the forest floor, where mycelium grows best, in a lab to create Mylo with mulch, air and water. This state-of-the-art process, explains Bolt, has been designed to have a minimal environmental impact and takes days, not years like raising cattle.
It requires 17,000 litres of water to produce a kilogram of leather, with animal agriculture accounting for approximately 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and driving the destruction of vital ecosystems.
Bolt Threads, however, points out that Mylo is not petroleum-based, unlike synthetic leathers, meaning more fossil fuels can be kept in the ground and less plastic is deposited into landfills and oceans.
McCartney first started working with Bolt Threads in 2017 and has been part of the Mylo journey since its inception. The first product ever created with Mylo was a prototype of the brand’s signature Falabella bag, which debuted as part of the V&A’s ‘Fashioned from Nature’ exhibition in 2018.
Images: courtesy of Stella McCartney