It is rare, nowadays, for a high-end designer brand to truly shock shoppers with new collections, but Hermès managed to pull off the feat with a recent launch. The brand, known for its impeccable leather goods, will be releasing a travel bag made of…wait for it…mushrooms. Yes, the luxury label is investing in a sustainable and eco-friendly leather alternative made from mushrooms by the company MycoWorks. And Hermès is not the only household name brand going big on fungi-based products.

Stella McCartneylululemon and Adidas have all announced partnerships with Bolt Threads, the innovative fabric-makers behind Mylo, yet another mushroom-based leather alternative, to help further develop the material and build up the supply chain necessary to produce it. Outside of the fashions sphere, Mercedes-Benz and Bentley are also on board with the eco-friendly materials and have begun making mushroom leather car seats in some new models. But what does the fabric actually feel like, and how sustainable is it really? We’ve got all the answers right here.


Mushroom leathers are a vegan alternative to both real leather and non-vegan synthetics and are made from mycelium, the vegetative part of a fungus. What does that mean, you ask? It’s a somewhat complex process, but essentially mycelium cells are coaxed into forming durable fibers that look and feel like real leather. (It is obviously much more complicated, and if you really want to dive into the details both MycoWorks and Bolt Threads have more info available on their respective sites.) But the exciting thing here is that the benefits of mushroom leather go way beyond simply finding a realistic substitute for real leather—they’re also significantly better for the environment than both real leather production and basically all other faux-leather materials.