Mylo is a material made from mycelium that looks and feels like leather.
Mycelium is a sprawling, infinitely renewable, interlaced web, that threads through soil and old tree trunks, and plays a critical role in breaking down organic matter to provide nutrients to nearby plants. Mushrooms are the fruit of mycelium. Imagine the branches and vines that grow apples or grapes — mycelium functions like those twisting, branching supports just under the surface. It brings sustenance to all living species and is the literal world wide web.
We start by reproducing what happens under the forest floor in a controlled indoor environment. We take spores of mycelia cells and feed them sawdust and organic material, and place all of that on a square mat while controlling the humidity and temperature. The mycelium grows into a foamy layer — imagine a big bag of smushed marshmallows. Once the mycelium is harvested, we compost the leftover byproducts. We then process and dye that sheet of mycelium and it becomes the Mylo that gets used to make footwear, handbags, wallets, phone cases, and other gorgeous products.
Bolt Threads is a material solutions company in California that invents and scales advanced biomaterials that put us on a path towards a more sustainable future. Mylo is a Bolt Threads material and was created by Bolt’s team of world-class scientists and engineers.
Mylo is created by Bolt Threads, a U.S. material innovations company based in California. It is grown by expert mushroom farmers and scientists in indoor vertical farming facilities in Europe and the United States.
Yes, if you’re into that sort of thing. Check out this grow kit if you want to learn more.
Technically speaking, mycelium, from which Mylo is made, is a member of the fungi kingdom, which means it’s neither plant nor animal. While fungi often grow among plants, and you find them in the produce section of the market, scientifically speaking they are classified differently. Refresh your memory of junior high science and read more here.
Yes, though the term vegan means different things to different people. For some, it means a diet free of any animal products (such as meat, dairy, eggs, and honey). For others it goes beyond diet to include avoiding any products made from animals, like leather. However you define it, we don’t use animals or animal by-products to make Mylo.
Each partner in our supply chain was selected because they are a world-class leader in their trade and they meet our high labor and sustainable manufacturing practices. Mylo is a high-quality material that requires a high skill level to tan properly. Our tanning partner has five generations of experience working with leather and meets top certifications in sustainability including a gold rating from the Leather Working Group.
Bolt Threads, a material solutions company based out of Emeryville, California. Mylo was created by Bolt’s team of world-class scientists and engineers. Today we produce Mylo at commercial scale with the help of a select group of global supply chain partners who adhere to leading sustainability principles and maintain ethical labor conditions.
Mylo is produced using a data-focused framework that aims to make the lowest environmental impact. We conducted an initial lifecycle assessment (LCA) in 2019 to help guide our decisions in creating a sustainable product, and we will undertake a full LCA prior to large scale commercial rollout. Once complete, the full LCA will allow us to specify Mylo’s environmental footprint and we look forward to sharing those findings with the world.
Yes. We have partnered with world experts in tanning and dyeing who have been recognized with global sustainability certifications to help build a process designed for human health and safety and the lowest environmental impact. Mylo is free of highly hazardous chemicals and substances such as DMFa and chromium, one of the most noxious chemicals used in animal and synthetic leather.
It’s too early to have an independent study on Mylo’s environmental footprint, but creating a sustainable upgrade to leather that checks the boxes for people who love leather is the whole reason we’re doing this. Unlike leather production, making Mylo doesn’t involve raising livestock or emitting any of the associated greenhouse gases or material wastes. As disposable incomes rise around the globe, so will the demand for meat and leather goods. This demand simply can’t be met using the land and water it takes to raise cattle. We need smarter, more sustainable solutions. The mycelia we grow for Mylo is produced in days, without the resource intensity of raising livestock, which can take years. Our preliminary impact assessment indicates the incredible environmental benefits of mycelia-based leather. In 2021, we'll undertake an independent impact assessment and share the quantitative results.
Unlike synthetic leather, which is usually made from a synthetic fabric and a polyurethane or PVC coating, Mylo is made from mycelium and is not petroleum-derived. Additionally, Mylo’s processing and finishing chemistries are intentionally evaluated and selected using Green Chemistry principles. We will undertake a full impact assessment of Mylo prior to large scale commercial rollout, and we look forward to sharing those findings with the world.
No. There are no genetically engineered microbes required in manufacturing it.
Umm. No one eats leather, so why would anyone want to eat Mylo? Mylo contains dyes and conditioners that are not suitable for consumption. While technically you could eat unfinished mycelium, it would be like eating a handful of twigs and sawdust. Not exactly appetizing.
If properly cared for and stored, your Mylo products should last a long time. Our longevity tips and recommendations include storing Mylo products in their original packaging (ie: dust bag or shoebox if provided) and stuffing them (ie: crushed paper, old clothes, shoe trees) to retain shape. See our care instructions for more detail.
You can wipe it with a soft, damp cloth to remove anything that spills on it; otherwise, just store it properly and it should gain a nice patina with use.
Thank you for your interest! These are exciting times for us and we are overwhelmed by the demand for Mylo. While Mylo is not currently available for sale beyond our exclusive consortium partners, we are working to increase supply to work with additional brands and designers in the future. Please continue to check back for more updates.
New technology like Mylo always requires an investment in the beginning, which means the first pieces to market will cost more. As demand scales up, the cost will come down. It’s very important to us that Mylo reaches price parity with leather over time so that more consumers can choose this highly desirable, sustainable alternative.
Currently, every centimeter of Mylo™ is being used for testing and prototyping by the Mylo consortium partners. We, unfortunately, don’t have extra material to share at this time, but are looking forward to sharing Mylo samples more widely in 2021. Please continue to check back for more updates, and in the meantime, sign up for our Mylo email list to receive future updates.
The Mylo™ Driver Bag - Backer Edition was only sold in a limited quantity in 2018 via Kickstarter, and rolling delivery is scheduled to begin in December 2020. The look, texture, and performance of the Mylo material have been drastically improved since the prototype was designed in 2018, and the final bags will be created using a natural colored material. You can learn more and follow the journey on the Mylo Kickstarter blog.
The short answer is that breakthrough technology takes a long time. At this stage, Mylo is dependent on large brands to help subsidize the massive costs that come with developing a novel process and building a supply chain to make Mylo at commercial scale. Accessibility is 100% our goal for Mylo and while it is not currently available for sale beyond our exclusive consortium partners, we are working to increase supply so we can collaborate with additional brands and designers in the future.