Breaking away from its leather canvas tradition, Hermès is moving forward with sustainable leather alternatives for its iconic luxury bags.
While Hermès is known for its use of exotic leathers such as crocodile hide, the label has partnered up with MycoWorks, a California-based startup, to create its first vegan leather product, a reinvention of the classic Victoria bag, crafted out of MycoWorks’ patented Fine Mycellium, a mushroom-based textile. The new Victoria bag will also incorporate canvas as well as elements of calfskin into the final product.
“MycoWorks’ vision and values echo those of Hermès: a strong fascination with natural raw material and its transformation, a quest for excellence, with the aim of ensuring that objects are put to their best use and that their longevity is maximised. With Sylvania, Hermès is at the heart of what it has always been: innovation in the making,” says Hermès Artistic Director, Pierre-Alexis Dumas, quoted from MycoWorks website.
“We could not imagine a better partner than Hermès to present our first object made of Fine Mycellium,” states Matt Scullin, the CEO of MycoWorks. “Hermès and MycoWorks share common values of craftsmanship, quality, innovation, and patience.”
According to Business of Fashion, MycoWorks has created a patented process to turn mycelium –a network of threads from the root structure of mushrooms– into a material that imitates the properties of conventional leather.
Fine Mycellium, the genesis of Sylvania –what the vegan leather is known as–, is produced in the MycoWorks facility. It is then tanned and finished in France by the Hermès tanners to further refine its strength and durability, and shaped in the workshops by the Hermès craftspeople. “Sylvania represents how nature and biotechnology can wok in concert to create a material with the highest standards of quality,” says Scullin.
The new Victoria bag is slated to be available for purchase later this year.