Author: Jadon

Leather is one of the most valued

and favoured fabric for centuries.

It is variable, durable, elegant,

pleasant to touch and wear, moreover,

never goes out of fashion. It delivers

status, luxury and comfort. The leather

processing industry worth almost over

100 million dollars, and presented all

over the world, in different departments

whether it is fashion, auto or furniture.

The leather industry besides its success

and popularity has to face a lot of severe

critiques. The past few years were

game changer for the fashion industry

as many issues turned out to the public

and shook the pillars of the whole department

worldwide. The question of

sustainability, the environmental pollution

and the level of damage it causes,

nevertheless the industrial burning of

unwanted goods just added up to the

ongoing arguments on animal fur and

leather. Contrary to the general public’s

knowledge, the usage of animal skin is

less endangering and destructive as


to the process the leather industry

uses to make the material. As a result of

the confl icts, many kinds of research, innovations

and initiatives started globally

for a high-quality green future.

The Myco Works is a San Francisco based

start-up established in 2013, which

produces sustainable and quality goods

from fungi. One of their fi rst developments

was a waterproof material using

the fungi Ganoderma lucidum and Pleurotus

ostreatus. Since then they have

produced furniture, bricks, footwear,

and leather.

According to one of their important research,

leather as a co-product of the

livestock industry, only in the United

States, uses the 50% of the country’s

water supply and 30% of the Earth’s

landmass, further produces 18% of the

Earth’s greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover,

the production of leather is very

wasteful and costly, as only 30% of an

untreated hide gets turned into leather,

the rest is thrown away. The material has

and outside the country to do further steps

in the process. Afterwards, the next major

issues appear, because to make the leather

properly clean, to achieve the right consistency

and texture, further colour and quality,

the processing industry has to use

a huge amount of toxic chemicals which are

harmful to the environment and the people

too. Besides many, these are the facts why

the laboratory of the Myco Works started to

develop different materials, which can compete

against natural leather, but without endangering

the environment.

As a result of their more than a decade long

hard work, research and development, in

2019 they launched their premium mycelium

based leather brand called Reishi. In

the same year, they had a chance to present

themselves on the New York Fashion Week

where they achieved signifi cant success.

They also won a 17 million dollars funding

support for helping the brand enter the


In the past two years, the Vartest, one of the

world’s leading leather testing houses, has

tested the Reishi across hundreds of samples

and protocols, which led to a revolutionary

breakthrough within biomaterials:

Reishi matches the strength and durability

of cowhide, which is the gold standard for

leather. The mycelium-based leather’s appearance,

touch and smell is deceptively similar

to animal leather.