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New in Mycofashion: Stella McCartney’s New Bag is Made with Mushrooms


Vegan advocates and style mavens celebrated a landmark moment in the fashion industry as renowned designer Stella McCartney debuted a new bag made from a revolutionary material extracted from mushrooms.

Crafted with a faux leather called Mylo, the Stella McCartney Frayme is being hailed as a true statement piece in the field of sustainable fashion. The material is engineered from mycelium, a networked mesh of fungal threads that was reproduced in a lab using renewable ingredients found in nature – essentially air, mulch, and water. 

The certified bio-based material looks and feels like high-quality animal leather: soft, supple, and buffed to a good sheen.

A more sustainable approach

Bolt Threads, the material solutions company that came up with Mylo, states that the facility where the myco-leather was created is powered by renewable energy. Likewise, the production of the material is more cost-effective and resource-efficient than the process of rearing animals for leather. 

Mylo production in the lab only takes days while raising cattle for leather may take years and a great deal of resources such as food and water. According to a press release from McCartney’s atelier, producing a single kilogram of cow’s leather can use up to 17,000 liters of water. 

The beef and leather industry has also been seen as one of the reasons for deforestation in the Amazon, as 70 to 80 percent of the region’s land area has been claimed for cattle pasture.

Mycofashion as the future of style

Frayme debuted on the Paris runway in three forms: a bag to sling over one’s shoulder, a standard handbag, and a clutch for galas or more formal occasions.

Aside from the way Mylo aped classic leather, fashionistas also took note of the bag’s stylishly utilitarian design. They also observe how McCartney incorporated upcycled materials into the overall aesthetic. 

For instance, shoulder straps were made from oversized aluminum-link chains and aesthetic details like signature medallions were made with zamak, an alloy of recovered zinc, aluminum, magnesium, and copper.

According to McCartney, fungi – a renewable natural resource – inspired her, particularly when she learned about how fungal material could help protect the planet from further deterioration. So for her, Fayme and the rest of her collection for spring/summer 2022 is a historical moment not just for her as a designer or even the fashion industry, but also for the world.

She added that the present runway could be viewed as “the conscious fashion industry of tomorrow.”

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