MycoWorks Fine Mycelium, Made with Reishi

How MycoWorks is using mycelium to develop a new class of premium, non-animal materials

MycoWorks is a biotechnology company founded by artists with the mission to create a platform for the highest quality materials using Fine Mycelium. Drawing on over three decades of pioneering research and innovation by the creative founding team, MycoWorks’ proprietary Fine Mycelium platform has enabled a new class of premium, non-animal materials that are the next evolution in mycelium. MycoWorks is using the tools of biotechnology, manufacturing excellence and creative, master craftsmanship to grow the future of materials. 

 

Read on to learn about Fine Mycelium from the MycoWorks team.

Photo Credit: MYCOWORKS

How did MycoWorks get started and what do you do?

Before getting into the history of MycoWorks as a company, it's important to highlight the decades of work our co-founder Phil Ross put into discovering mycelium’s potential as a material. Phil uncovered how to harness and grow mycelium while on a quest for materials to use in his art. He and co-founder Sophia Wang recognized that the process they were developing could have great impact and be of interest to luxury and fashion brands wanting to expand their offerings. Nine years ago, they founded MycoWorks.

 

MycoWorks’ patented Fine Mycelium process produces natural material with the performance of the finest animal leathers and lower environmental impact. It is a proprietary biotechnology platform that engineers mycelium to grow the only made-to-order, made-to-specification luxury material. Fine Mycelium materials offer superior hand feel, durability, and aesthetics. The process also unlocks new design possibilities for fashion and luxury brands, while its predictable, scalable tray-based process offers much-needed relief to supply chain constraints.

Your products are made from mycelium. Can you explain what mycelium is for a nontechnical audience?

Mycelium is the mass of interwoven threads- called hyphae- that forms in soil or other organic matter, mushrooms sprout from mycelium. Mycelium is a malleable and engineerable material, MycoWorks’ patented technology is the first and only to harness the threads to form a highly tunable materials platform and process called Fine Mycelium.

How do you work with your partners?

We work with some of today’s best known luxury brands, partnering closely with their teams to develop and refine our material to meet their high quality standards. We want our material used in heritage-quality designs that will be handed down from generation to generation. Our partners help us by demanding the very best.

Hermès Victoria bag made with Sylvania from MycoWorks.jpeg

Hermès Victoria bag made with Sylvania from MycoWorks | Courtesy MycoWorks

What challenges do companies that use leather as part of their design process face?

There is huge consumer demand for lower environmental impact. Brands are under enormous pressure and have been searching for options that do not force a compromise on quality. Quality has been the barrier, until Fine Mycelium. In addition, the leather supply chain has run into some fundamental limits that are going to impact dozens of industries. That's where Fine Mycelium is uniquely suited to deliver this long-term value that goes beyond sustainability, and why the round of financing we announced earlier this year is so critical, so that we can scale and meet demand.

What challenges do companies that use leather as part of their design process face?

Our customers tell us that our Fine Mycelium-grown material is the best available today in terms of quality and performance. We're seeing an enormous number of different plant and mushroom based leathers because of the relative ease with which one can embed raw materials like mycelium into a plastic, but the result so far has been lower quality material.

MycoWorks is a platinum partner of our Material Innovation Conference this May 18-19th. Don’t miss CEO & Board Director Dr. Matthew Scullin’s presentation, “Growing The New Materials Revolution.” Download the agenda now.