Surprise, surprise — the mushroom moment and conversation continues at Stella McCartney.
The designer, although not in attendance, convened a group of mushroom innovators alongside biotech firm Bolt Threads in her SoHo store this week to discuss the brazen fun of fungi.
The in-store event held Tuesday celebrated the commercial release of the Frayme Mylo collection — with glowing mushroom decor and prototypes on display like the Falabella bag, bustier and trousers and Frayme Mylo bag (retailing for $3,500 and sold out online after the June drop). The collection taps Bolt Threads’ Mylo material made from mycelium, or fungi’s root-like system, as a bio-based alternative to leather.
McCartney has had a partnership with Bolt Threads since 2017 and has produced 100 commercial bags in the Mylo material to date, not including the garments that debuted last year.
A panel conversation on mushroom innovation moderated by Julia Gall featured experts across disciplines, including Bolt Threads’ vice president of product development Jamie Bainbridge, mushroom farm Smallhold’s cofounder Andrew Carter, medicinal mushroom firm Rainbo’s founder Tonya Papanikolov and plant-based chef Tara Thomas.
“We don’t know how to grow the majority of the fungi that is out there…It feels like the next frontier of discovery is not only food but materials,” Carter said. “It feels like it can fit into any industry that’s out there. The other thing that I always get excited about is how excited people are about it [that] people wear mushroom T-shirts and go to mushroom fashion events like this.”
Indeed, a fashionable crowd gathered to learn more about the innovators behind the world’s first mycelium luxury bag to hit the market.
“In food, what I find is the most interesting part is you can make it savory, sweet, you can change textures. Especially with plant-based cuisine, [mushroom is] kind of the star of the show because it has a body to it,” said Thomas.
Mushroom manipulators in fashion, alongside McCartney, include Adidas, Lululemon and Kering. Together, the groups formed the open-sourced Mylo consortium established in 2020. As for how the fashion street stylers are taking to it, Bolt Threads showed off how influencers Griffin Maxwell Brooks, Maria Alia Al-sadek and Kailee McKenzie were seen sporting the Frayme Mylo bag on the streets during New York Fashion Week.