San Francisco's Bolt Threads is a startup best-known for making ties out of imitation spider silk.
And apparently they've continued scouring the forest floor for fresh ideas since — Bolt’s latest initiative, launched again in tandem with Stella McCartney, is a synthetic leather harvested from the root structure of mushrooms, which they've dubbed Mylo.
How does it work? Mylo comes from mycelium, mushrooms’ massive, underground, billion-celled roots, which Bolt Threads grows and keeps under specific temperature and humidity conditions. Once the material grows to its desired thickness, the tanning process begins. Patterns, if necessary, are added after.
Bolt Threads claims Mylo offers the same combination of strength and softness of animal hides, but with better moisture-managing properties. Couple that with its waste-saving capabilities — biodegradable, grows in days, doesn’t require the use of synthetic chemicals, definitely doesn’t need to involve livestock — and Bolt Threads could have a real winner.
They plan to test the material for a year before rolling it out for public consumption. Learn more about the project here.