This month, biotechnology startup Bolt Threads announced a partnership with fashion industry giants Adidas, Stella McCartney, Lululemon, and Kering—a luxury fashion group that manages the development of brands such as Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, and more. The partnership will give the fashion brands exclusive access to Bolt Threads’ Mylo—a material made from fast-growing mycelium (mushroom root systems) that Bolt Threads crafts into vegan leather. The partnership will result in the launch of new mushroom leather-based products in 2021. 

“We are thrilled to be working with partners who recognize that we are in a race to develop sustainable solutions to conventional technologies,” Bolt Threads CEO Dan Widmaier said. “They are joining forces, and investing in a solution that can scale: Mylo. The consortium unites four iconic and forward-thinking companies—Adidas, Kering, Lululemon, and Stella McCartney—who collectively represent hundreds of millions of square feet of potential demand for Mylo. Most importantly, this is an ongoing commitment to develop materials and products for a more sustainable future.”

Mylo is environmentally superior to animal-derived leather in a variety of areas, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, lowered water and land use, and, is made without animal cruelty. “For too long the industry standard has categorized materials as either natural or highly functional—but not both. The way to remedy this is to innovate responsibly with solutions that challenge the status quo, and products that use the best of what nature has spent millions of years perfecting—like Mylo—are critical to that,” James Carnes, Vice President of Global Brand Strategy at Adidas, said. “We hope this inspires others to join forces, as a more sustainable future is something that no brand can create alone.”

McCartney previously worked with Bolt Threads to replace animal-derived silk in her collections with the startup’s yeast-based silk. “Many people associate leather with luxury, but since the beginning I always wanted to approach things in a different way because killing animals for the sake of fashion is quite simply not acceptable,” McCartney said. “Working so closely with Bolt Threads since 2017 has been a career-changing experience and I cannot wait to launch Mylo products to market in 2021.”

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