Meet The Companies Ushering In The Mushroom Leather Revolution


Mushroom leather is a non-synthetic, vegan leather alternative that’s made from mycelium, the root system of mushrooms. With the right growing conditions and processing, it makes an amazing, vegan, eco-friendly, petroleum-free, soft, durable leather-like material. Mushroom leather is currently storming the fashion industry and it has the potential to revolutionize the field.

There are a handful of major names you’ll encounter in the mushroom leather industry. Each of these manufacturers has a slightly different process and end product. This article will focus on their products and whether or not you can buy them, as well as the companies’ basic histories and production techniques.

In researching the industry, it seems like new players in the mushroom leather industry are popping up (pun intended), so there might be reason to print a “Part II” article with even more names. Stay tuned.

A grid of leather swatches.

Life Materials / MuSkin

This company is based in Italy and has been around for over 15 years. They create a variety of eco-friendly products including yarns, fabrics, leather alternatives, paper, and insulation. Their mushroom leather product is called MuSkin (mushroom skin – get it?). It is not highly processed, and as a result it is quite pleasantly soft to the touch. reports that Muskin is made by crisscrossing spores from the Phellinus ellipsoideus mushroom. This mushroom, found in China, is in the polypore family and is reported to have produced the largest fruiting body ever found.

MuSkin is available to the general public for purchase.

MycoWorks / Reishi

MycoWorks is based in San Francisco, California in the US and was founded in 2013 by Philip Ross and Sophia Wang. MycoWorks is focused exclusively on the production of mushroom leather; their product is called Reishi. Reishi is high quality, and their technology comes from over three decades of research and innovation.

Reishi is the product, but their process is also branded; they call it Fine Mycelium. MycoWorks differentiates this process from the typical way of making mushroom leather – compressed mycelium. Fine Mycelium, on the other hand, aims to control the exact parameters of mycelial growth to direct the cells so that they naturally grow into the desired final product – something dense and strong – without needing to be compressed. The finished product, Reishi, is a customizable, durable, aesthetically pleasing, supple, and sustainable material, according to MycoWorks.

Reishi does not appear to be available to the general public for purchase.

Bolt Threads / Mylo

Bolt Threads is based out of Emeryville, CA with additional facilities in Portland, OR and Arnhem, Netherlands. Founded by Dan Widmaier, Bolt Threads is an idea company with the goal of producing amazing materials that solve a problem and are good for the planet. Founded in 2009, they began producing spider silk fibers. Their mushroom leather creation, Mylo, was just produced in the last few years.

Their product is called Mylo (“unleather”), which is created by growing mycelial cells fed on sawdust and organic material, while controlling the humidity, temperature, and other variables. The Mylo mycelium grows into a foamy layer, which is then harvested and compressed, processed and dyed. Bolt Threads operates a state-of-the-art vertical growing facility, powered by renewable energy, located in the Netherlands.

Mylo is not available to the general public for purchase.

Ecovative / Forager

Located in Green Island and Troy, New York, Ecovative uses a biotechnology process called AirMycelium to create their mushroom leather called Forager. They guide the growth of their mycelium into various forms to enable them to create a variety of products, from leather to foam to other complex structures.

Ecovative grows mycelium in a vertical format, which allows them to produce 3 million square feet of material every year on just one acre of land (an acre is just 43,560 square feet)! They offer foams and “hides” in a variety of colors and textures. Founded in 2007 by Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre, Ecovative has been on the forefront of mushroom leather technology and production since their inception.

Forager hides do not appear available to the general public for purchase. It is worth noting that their website appears to be the most eager to make new partnerships, compared to the other companies’ websites.