News: Hermès launches Victoria travel bag made of mushroom-based “leather”

The high-fashion house Hermès, known for its exclusive leather goods, is breaking with tradition and, in cooperation with MycoWorks, is launching a bag made from lab-grown mycelium

Kering Vestiare Collective
Source & Copyright by MycoWorks | Photography by Coppi Barbieri

Author: Julia Schindler

The iconic Hermès Birkin Bag is synonymous with classic luxury and exclusivity. It is a status symbol, a longing wish and probably the signature bag of the renowned fashion powerhouse. Made from calfskin or exotic leather such as crocodile, it no longer meets modern customer needs for social and ecological responsibility. The French Maison recognizes this and reacts: In cooperation with MycoWorks Hermès relies on the imitation leather that is grown in the laboratory Sylvania.

Hermès x MycoWorks Collaboration combines craft and technology

MycoWorks is a California-based startup that has developed a patented process to produce biomaterials from mycelium - the thread-like cells of a fungus. In the current collaboration, the established traditional Hermès meets with an innovative one future model . Contradiction? On the contrary. "MycoWorks’ vision and values echo those of Hermès: a strong fascination with natural raw materials and transforming them, a pursuit of excellence, with the aim of ensuring that objects are used optimally and that their longevity is maximized, "said Pierre-Alexis Dumas, Artistic Director of Hermès.

The result of three years of collaboration is Sylvania. An amber-coloured fabric that, as a hybrid of nature and biotechnology, heralds a new generation of biotech materials. In addition to imitation leather such as Piñatex, the duo is launching another attractive veggie leather alternative that imitates the tactile and optical properties of leather. The reason behind is that the interlocking mushroom structure has a strength and durability comparable to that of cowhide.

Sustainable rebirth of the Victoria travel bag

Sylvania is now being used for the first time in the form of the reinterpretation of the Victoria travel bag. With its classic design, the timeless it-piece is now made from Canva and elements made of calfskin and the biotech material. While the sustainable traveler will not replace the brand's classic leather models, the Fungi-Fashion range will be available as an alternative by the end of the year.

Hermès joins luxury brands in promoting sustainability

It is not yet clear whether other mushroom-based Hermès Essentials will be launched. But safe: Luxury products on an animal-protecting and environmentally friendly basis are becoming increasingly popular. Sustainable collections show how "Gucci Off The Grid" or "ReBurberry". In addition, the Prada Group, for example, has completely stopped the use of fur and most recently has signed a million euro sustainability linked loan . These positive commitments demonstrate that luxury brands are pioneering for a rethink towards sustainable luxury.

Sustainability conclusion

While the bag does not meet the requirements of a holistically sustainable product, the collaboration is worth mentioning as well as the possible beginning of a new era. After all, Hermès is probably the most exclusive fashion house for high-quality leather goods and craftsmanship. The cooperation with MycoWorks shows the willingness to grow, to adapt to the modern age and to take on more and more social and ecological responsibility in the long term. The reinterpretation of the Victoria travel bag is a possible productive kick-off.

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