Stella McCartney’s Frayme Mylo™ bag is the first commercially available product made from the material developed by the startup Bolt Threads, based on fast-growing mycelium (mushroom root systems).
Stella McCartney is known to be the first luxury house to never have used leather, feathers, fur or skins in their designs. Under the concrete dome of the Espace Niemeyer, the attendants heard a deep voice say “In fashion, mushrooms are the future,” as the show began, accompanied by synthesized music created from the sound of mushrooms living and growing.
That’s because in addition to introducing the innovative sustainable mushroom-based leather alternative the whole collection was inspired by Fungi. Bodysuits with curvy cutouts stood out, as well as parachute-silk anoraks and wide-leg cargo pants and fringed dresses and crop tops.
“For my Summer 2022 collection, I was so inspired by fungi and their incredible potential for saving our planet – and the Frayme Mylo™️ embodies that hope for the future. Our long-time partners at Bolt Threads and I have a shared passion for material innovation and launching a luxury handbag made from Mylo™️ mycelium leather is a landmark moment not only for us, but the world. What you see on the runway today is the conscious fashion industry of tomorrow.” – Stella McCartney
Stella and Bolt Threads have been partners in sustainable innovation since 2017, and in October 2020, McCartney’s brand was announced as part of an exclusive consortium of brands working with the new material, exploring its uses and providing critical feedback to the Bolt Threads team. The first product ever created with Mylo™️ was a prototype of Stella’s iconic Falabella bag, which debuted as part of the V&A’s Fashioned from Nature exhibition in 2018.
Scientists at Bolt Threads have learned how to reproduce what happens under the forest floor, where Mycelium thrives abundantly in the wild feeding on natural resources, in a lab, with mulch, air and water and using 100% renewable energy. While it takes years for cows to mature so that their hides can be turned into leather, Mylo is grown in a matter of days and is infinitely renewable.
Remarkably similar to animal products with fewer environmental impacts, it is also not petroleum-based unlike most current synthetic options so it also contributes to less plastic being deposited into landfills and oceans.
The first Mylo product showcased at the runway was a small crescent-shaped handbag with an oversized, mixed galvanic chain strap and an exaggerated version of a signature medallion made from aluminum, which is recyclable. Sixty-three percent of the materials in the collection were eco-friendly, according to the fashion brand.
“With good reason, consumers are demanding sustainable material alternatives that also look and feel great. Working closely with Stella and her team of innovative designers has enabled us to make Mylo™️ a no-compromise, animal-free alternative to leather. The Frayme Mylo™️ bag is a huge milestone for sustainable fashion, making better material options accessible to consumers all around the world.” – Dan Widmaier, Founder and CEO Bolt Threads
Other luxury fashion houses are also making efforts to incorporate more sustainable practices, such as Gucci, introducing it’s leather alternative Demetra, a new material made from wood pulp and Prada’s re-nylon project. There are also repurposing and upcycling initiatives like Maison Margiela’s “Recicla” and Miu Miu’s “Upcycled by Miu Miu”.