New MycoWorks commercial-scale factory will create luxury vegan leather – from fungus

Author: Maria Chiorando

Read Time:   |  11th August 2023

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Biomaterials tech company MycoWorks has announced it will be opening the world’s first commercial-scale Fine Mycelium production plant creating luxury vegan leather.

MycoWorks will open the 136,000 square foot factory in South Carolina on September 20, and will employ more than 350 people to work in the facility.

According to a statement, the new factory will enable it to ‘supply its luxury partners with millions of square feet of Reishi per year’.

Reishi is described as a new category of premium, natural material that ‘features the strength, durability, and hand-feel of the finest animal leathers with lower environmental impact‘.

It is also described by the company as the ‘only leather alternative that meets the luxury industry’s performance standards’.

As a result of launching the material, MycoWorks has partnered with major brands across the luxury, fashion, home furnishings and automotive industries, including Hermès, Ligne Roset and GM.



MycoWorks new facility

In a statement, Matt Scullin, CEO of MycoWorks, said: “There have been two barriers to the decades-long search for a luxury leather alternative: product quality and scalable manufacturing.

“In 2016 we eliminated the first by introducing Reishi to the world, and in September 2023 we are answering the question of scale with this state-of-the-art facility in South Carolina.”

Meanwhile, Patrick Thomas, former CEO of Hermès and MycoWorks Board Member, added: “This is the moment the luxury industry has been waiting for; a plastic-free leather alternative that offers undeniable beauty and performance – at scale.

“Now that the challenge of supply has been solved, brands will move quickly to commercialize items made with Reishi.”

And Kiersten Stead, Managing Partner DCVC Bio and MycoWorks Board Member, said: “[Our] Fine Mycelium platform is an unprecedented advancement in materials.

“Opening the doors on the first commercial-scale factory has MycoWorks poised to answer the luxury industry’s desire to craft objects with natural alternatives to leather.”

With so many plant-based alternatives to animal skins, should vegans wear second-hand leather?

Featured photo © polrebaque, courtesy of @mycoworks via Instagram

Written by

Maria Chiorando

Maria is an editor and journalist. Her work has been published by the Huffington Post, the Guardian, TechnoBuffalo, Plant Based News, and Kent on Sunday among other national and regional titles.

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