A new innovative collaboration sees luxury fashion house Hermès team up with MycoWorks, a California-based startup dedicated to producing materials from mycelium, the plant byproduct of fungal bacteria colonies. Together, the companies have married artisanship and technology to develop Sylvania, a proprietary fine mycelium that is produced on the west coast of the United States and tanned and finished in the Hermès workshops in France, where it is subsequently crafted into "leather" goods.
It's taken three years of collaboration and refinement, and the first Sylvania product Hermès plans to bring to market will be a vegan leather version of its classic "Victoria" travel bag (launch date tbd).
"MycoWorks’ vision and values echo those of Hermès: a strong fascination with natural raw material and its transformation, a quest for excellence, with the aim of ensuring that objects are put to their best use and that their longevity is maximized," says Hermès Artistic Director Pierre-Alexis Dumas in a statement. "With Sylvania, Hermès is at the heart of what it has always been: innovation in the making."
The combination of Hermès' level of craftsmanship with MycoWorks' forward-thinking technologies and ethos represents an unprecedented leveling-up of eco-friendly and animal-friendly practices and options within the luxury fashion industry.
"We could not imagine a better partner than Hermès to present our first object made of Fine Mycelium," says MycoWorks CEO Matt Scullin. "Hermès and MycoWorks share common values of craftsmanship, quality, innovation, and patience.
"The power of storytelling is key in any new technology or art. Hermès related to our story: that Fine Mycelium was rooted in artistic practice and craftsmanship. At the same time, Hermès recognized that MycoWorks’ unique biotechnology approach to enhancing a natural material meant that Fine Mycelium had the potential to be the highest quality mycelium in the world.
"Sylvania represents how nature and biotechnology can work in concert to create a material with the highest standards of quality.”