Biomaterials startup Bolt Threads has created a beautiful alternative to animal hide

Leather sourcing is a big headache for those in the industry. Animal cruelty, shady practices and even cat or dog culling produce a lot of conflict over the material. Bolt Threads, an alternative fibers startup, is introducing a mushroom-based vegan leather called Mylo. It causes no harm to animals but maintains the drape and feel of real leather.

Mylo is created from mycelium, the fuzz of fibers associated with fungus. This material is compressed and treated to be leather-like.

Animal leather is made of cellulose fibers, and the differences between calf and bison leather, for example, are usually explained by the qualities and density of the cellulose. The process for creating Mylo allows manufacturers to have total control over how the fibers develop. Their density and the amount of compression, among other things, can easily be modified, making it a highly versatile method of making leather products.

For the launch, Bolt Threads has partnered with renowned vegan designer Stella McCartney to create a version of her popular Falabella bag. The creation will be on display at the Victoria and Albert's Museum Fashioned from Nature Exhibit.

Bolt Threads-branded bags made of Mylo will also be available starting in June of this year.

Bolt Threads

Leather sourcing is a big headache for those in the industry. Animal cruelty, shady practices and even cat or dog culling produce a lot of conflict over the material. Bolt Threads, an alternative fibers startup, is introducing a mushroom-based vegan leather called Mylo. It causes no harm to animals but maintains the drape and feel of real leather.

Mylo is created from mycelium, the fuzz of fibers associated with fungus. This material is compressed and treated to be leather-like.

Animal leather is made of cellulose fibers, and the differences between calf and bison leather, for example, are usually explained by the qualities and density of the cellulose. The process for creating Mylo allows manufacturers to have total control over how the fibers develop. Their density and the amount of compression, among other things, can easily be modified, making it a highly versatile method of making leather products.