Hermès unveiled a new vegan leather alternative made in collaboration with California-based startup MycoWorks.
The new sustainable material called Sylvania is a hybrid of nature and biotechnology and it is the exemplar of a new generation of biotech materials.
Hermès Victoria bag is the first object made with Fine Mycelium, the patented technology from MycoWorks that enhances mycelium as it grow.
Mycelium, the genesis of Sylvania, is produced in the MycoWorks facility. It is then tanned and finished in France by the Hermès tanners to further refine its strength and durability, and shaped in the workshops by the Hermès craftspeople.
“We could not imagine a better partner than Hermès to present our first object made of Fine Mycelium. Hermès and MycoWorks share common values of craftsmanship, quality, innovation, and patience.”- Matt Scullin, MycoWorks CEO.
A collaboration three years in the making, Sylvania faux leather was introduced to MycoWorks in 2017, which coincided with Hermès’ first experience with Fine Mycelium. At the time, MycoWorks was based in a small artist’s studio. Together, said Scullin, the companies saw the potential of this incredible material.
“The power of storytelling is key in any new technology or art. Hermès related to our story: that Fine Mycelium was rooted in artistic practice and craftsmanship. At the same time, Hermès recognized that MycoWorks’ unique biotechnology approach to enhancing a natural material meant that Fine Mycelium had the potential to be the highest quality mycelium in the world,” added Scullin.
Sylvania material represents how nature and biotechnology can work in concert to create a material with the highest standards of quality.
“MycoWorks’ vision and values echo those of Hermès: a strong fascination with natural raw material and its transformation, a quest for excellence, with the aim of ensuring that objects are put to their best use and that their longevity is maximized. With Sylvania, Hermès is at the heart of what it has always been: innovation in the making.” – Pierre-Alexis Dumas, Hermès Artistic Director.
It it more likely, that Hermès will use sustainable materials like Sylvania alongside the brand’s luxury leathers.
The MycoWorks Reishi leather is available for any fashion brand to use. MycoWorks Reishi material creates more opportunities for designers to choose from: it will biodegrade at the end of its use, and if added to fertilizer, for example, Reishi can improve the speed of crop growth. “It’s an incredibly circular process,” said Scullin.
Exclusive to MycoWorks, the Fine Mycelium process creates the interlocking, cellular structures that give Reishi its inherent strength and durability. Unlike “mushroom leather” (compressed mycelium) or traditional leather, Reishi is custom-grown to finely tune for fullness and the highest performance standards.
Reishi Brown Natural is a signature Fine Mycelium material in a warm, golden finish and natural grain. Soft and full- bodied, this chrome-free material features Reishi’s organic patina in both Standard and High Strength editions. Vegetable tannins showcase Reishi’s natural hue and the variations in grain unique to each sheet.
Reishi Black Emboss is a Fine Mycelium material with a delicate pebble grain and gentle sheen. Its refined finish is crafted to create sophisticated visual transparencies. This chrome-free material pairs Reishi’s signature strength and supple body with a sleek hand and an immaculate, ebony finish.