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Bolt Threads and Stella McCartney introduce mushroom leather handbag

Mylo leather by Bolt Threads
Mylo leather by Bolt Threads

Material startup Bolt Threads has introduced Mylo, a new leather material made from mycelium, the roots of a mushroom. For this textile innovation the company is continuing its work with designer Stella McCartney, who is launching a new style of the iconic Falabella handbag made from the innovation.

Bolt Threads has developed the patented leather by creating optimal growing conditions for mycelium cells to self-assemble into an animal leather-like material, meaning it can be produced in days rather than years.

The textile was developed in collaboration with Ecovative, a New York-based startup that had initially created the mushroom technology for packaging. It is not only sustainable from a raw material point of view, but can also be dyed with tea, which has long been a natural dyeing agent.

It’s the right time to show the world that we are more than just spider silk, Dan Widmaier, Bolt Threads’ co-founder and CEO, told us. Widmaier, who has a PhD in chemistry and chemical biology, is constantly developing things with his team in the company’s lab at a small scale, and leather and silk are just the beginning.

He refers to Bolt Threads as becoming a “platform” that can launch an infinite number of new materials inspired by the endless opportunities in nature.”There’s a huge ability to have an impact here,” he says, with relation to the change such new materials can make on sustainability and the environment. His tagline is “better materials for a better world”, which he refers to as critical for the globe’s growing population and increasing middle class.

The Stella McCartney Falabella bag made from Mylo leather by Bolt Threads
The Stella McCartney Falabella bag made from Mylo leather by Bolt Threads

The Stella McCartney handbag made from Mylo will be on display in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum’s “Fashioned from Nature” exhibit from April 21.  McCartney has no plans of putting the handbag on sale as yet, though her excitement towards investigating sustainable technologies is strong: “Once you take that technology and innovation and you marry it with luxury fashion and design and creativity, there’s no end to what magical madness you can create,” she told Forbes.

Bolt Threads’ own version of a Mylo leather handbag will be available for preorder in June.

This is Bolt Threads’ second material launch, having introduced Microsilk, a manmade spider silk produced in a lab in 2017. To showcase the material’s potential, the composition of which is meant to be stronger than steel but softer than a cloud, the startup launched a necktie and a hat. It followed that by introducing its partnership with McCartney via a dress made from the material that showcased the same level of fluidity and drapery as original silk. This was part of an exhibition at the MoMa in New York in October last year.

Want to know more? At this year’s SXSW, our chief intelligence officer Rachel Arthur spoke to CEO Widmaier on how his company’s innovations are driving the future of sustainable fashion for our TheCurrent Innovators podcast. 

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What you missed: Gap’s AR dressing room app, smart hairbrushes, Brexit’s impact on fashion

Gap's AR dressing room app with Google
Gap’s AR dressing room app with Google

Happy New Year and welcome to 2017… may it be a fortuitous one for all of us; the industry at large included. On that note, here’s a wrap up of everything you might have missed over the holidays and this past week, from new tech at CES to lots of thoughts on what to expect in the market throughout this year.

Also worth checking out is an interview on sustainability with Kering’s François-Henri Pinault, a deep-dive on all things WeChat (seriously a must-read), and an exploration of the worker robots hitting Japan. If you haven’t seen it, don’t forget to also check out our list of the 8 tech trends that will shape fashion and luxury retail in 2017.


TOP STORIES
  • Google moves into augmented reality shopping with BMW and Gap [Bloomberg]
  • L’Oréal launches smart hairbrush at CES: a bargain at $189? [AdAge]
  • How Brexit will impact fashion in 2017 [BoF]
  • The future of fashion is mushroom leather – Kering’s François-Henri Pinault on sustainability [Bloomberg]
  • Why Alexander Wang’s Adidas collection was sold in unmarked trucks and trash bags [Co.Create]
  • Selfridges unveils new plan to promote sustainable fashion [Dazed]

BUSINESS
  • In 2017’s “new normal,” luxury brands will have to work a lot harder to sell their pricey goods [QZ]
  • For the Trumps, ‘Made in USA’ may be a tricky label to stitch [NY Times]
  • Macy’s to cut more than 10,000 jobs and close 68 stores [AP]
  • Carolina Herrera is suing Oscar de la Renta over hiring of Monse designer [Hollywood Reporter]
  • Expect more store closings despite big holiday sales [USA Today]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • How social cash made WeChat the app for everything [Fast Company]
  • Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram: who is winning the social media shopping race? [BoF]
  • #Prada365: The brand’s new social, advertising strategy [TheFashionLaw]
  • 5 ways Snapchat Spectacles will affect influencer marketing in 2017 [AdWeek]
  • How fashion publishers are experimenting with Instagram Live [Glossy]
  • Here’s a timeline showing Instagram and Snapchat’s 2016 war over the best features [AdWeek]
  • Infographic: How millennials and baby boomers consume user-generated content [AdWeek]

RETAIL
  • Here come ‘smart stores’ with robots, interactive shelves [AP]
  • How tech drove retailer turnaround efforts in 2016 [Retail Dive]
  • Harrods incorporates in-store navigation tool in latest app update [LuxuryDaily]
  • The internet goes IRL at ModCloth’s new store [Racked]
  • What everyone will be buzzing about at NRF Retail’s BIG Show 2017 [IBM]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Japanese white-collar workers are already being replaced by artificial intelligence [QZ]
  • Amazon patent reveals its drone-deploying flying warehouse plan [Engadget]
  • Cross-border payment technology creates global opportunities [WWD]
  • Wearables gradually move beyond the wrist, and into hearts and minds (literally) [CNBC]
  • Shiseido Group invests in beauty technologies to maintain competitive edge [LuxuryDaily]