Vegan Leather Hermès Special Order, Anyone?


No, we’re not saying you can place that SO in vegan leather yet. But we may be inching closer to the reality of a leather-like vegan Birkin or Kelly as production is about to ramp up. To be clear, we’re not talking about PurseBop’s stunning Miss Champignon. Nor is this exactly the same “mushroom” leather we have previously discussed.

Rather, California-based MycoWorks, the firm that developed mushroom mycelium leather, has a new and improved product made from the mycelium. Trademarked Fine Mycelium with the name Reishi, Myco Works claims it “matches the strength, hand feel and durability of cowhide—the gold standard for leather.”

MycoWorks’ Board member and former CEO of Hermès said:

“This is the moment the luxury industry has been waiting for; a plastic-free leather alternative that offers undeniable beauty and performance—at scale . . . Now that the challenge of supply has been solved, brands will move quickly to commercialize items made with Reishi.”

In fact, the development and production of this alternative “leather” is about to get a boost. MycoWorks says it has worked out its large scale production.

In September 2023, MycoWorks will open a 136,000 square foot commercial-scale “Fine Mycelium” production facility in South Carolina. According to MycoWorks,

MycoWorks’ proprietary Fine Mycelium production process cultivates mycelium in a controlled environment, harnessing its natural growth to create beautiful sheets of Reishi, the only leather alternative that meets the luxury industry’s performance standards. Since Reishi’s introduction, the company has partnered with major brands across the luxury, fashion, home furnishings and automotive industries, including Hermès, Ligne Roset and GM.

According to Myco Works’ website, Reishi will be available in Natural, Smooth, and Pebbled. We’ll let you decide which Hermès leathers they resemble the closest.

Animal rights activists have long urged brands like Hermès to find alternatives to leather. Indeed, PETA repeatedly has criticized Hermès for its use of exotics, claiming the animals are abused. However, prior alternatives to leather – like those made from plastics – come under fire from environmentalists who claim these products do more harm than good. Perhaps Reishi is the answer to all.

With Hermès on board, the question is whether you will be. Do you  seek a leather alternative for your favorite Hermès handbags? And is this a wise move for the heritage leather Maison? Let us know.

Read also:

Part II: The Hermès Reveal- The Mini Mushroom that Made its Way Home From Paris

Would You Buy a Mushroom Birkin?

PETA Asks Hermès to Honor Jane Birkin

PETA vs Hermes: Animal Rights Group Accuses Luxury Brand of Cruelty Malpractice Yet Again