Multihyphenate creative director and designer Heron Preston has entered the mushroom leather space.
In a new art concept called “A Fruit Bowl,” Preston used Reishi Fine Mycelium. The material is made by San Francisco-based biotech firm MycoWorks as a plant-based alternative to leather grown via mycelium, or mushroom root. (Brands like Hermès also employ the material for small concepts). Preston made the one-of-a-kind, noncommercial concept under his sustainability studio L.E.D. Studio, which stands for Less Environmentally Destructive.
Preston told WWD that the material piqued his interest for a long time, and the project represents the first of many collaborations.
“I have always worked on concepts beyond fashion and since the start of my work I’ve always had an interest in more sustainable approaches,” he said. “It’s quite cool, how mushrooms can spread for miles underground, becoming the largest organisms on the planet and link plants together in vast networks dubbed the ‘wood wide web.’ It’s everywhere and nowhere. And so, this notion of ubiquity intrigued me — things that are present, appearing everywhere — but to the point where we have taken them for granted, they have become invisible, perhaps it’s a nod to our arrogance to nature. Reishi definitively made me ‘see’ mushrooms again, and in a new way.”
He chose to start with a fruit bowl, as it’s “usually one of the first objects that painters depict to demonstrate their skills and understanding of the medium. And this is an exercise on how [Fine Mycelium], through my lens is getting its start — as a fruit bowl. A material with endless possibilities and applications, like a painting. The fruit made of Fine Mycelium messages new beginnings and a future not bound by our past, but pushed forward through our imagination and human ingenuity; a breakthrough in materials science and biotechnology,” he said.
Collaboration aside, Preston also raised concerns over greenwashing, but is hopeful for continued collaboration among industry players.
It’s unclear how long the partnership will last, but MycoWorks cofounder and chief of culture Sophia Wang said that the collaboration is a “full circle moment” and “represents our company’s enduring values of thoughtful design, aesthetic, inspiration and imagination,” having been founded by artists.
In the scene, Preston played DJ at a Moët & Chandon event last week, where Mariah Carey was the musical guest performance.