With the world's focus on sustainable clothing and fashion products, Phil Ross's vision and the entire MyCoworks brand is timely. Philip was first introduced to the fantastic healing properties of reishi mushrooms in the 1990s. Since Mycelium grows and adapts to various environments, it was easy for him to study and create different works that showcased the adaptability, rich textures, and pure beauty of Mycelium.

Who is behind it? 
The outstanding properties of Mycelium formed the basis of mycotecture, which is the art of building and designing with Mycelium. Phil Ross decided to partner with Sophia Wang- A talented storyteller and dancer. Together, they began to realize and showcase Mycelium as the potential breakthrough material for the future of sustainable fashion. 
Sophia used her expertise to organically bring on a team of amazing collaborators to create MyCoworks. This is an environmental-conscious company focused on expanding the use of Mycelium in fashion and other industries. In collaboration with Ross and a new addition to the team- Matt Scullin, she is entirely focused on taking Reishi from mere art to a vital material in fashion for the future.  

This post will shed light on Reishi, what it is, and how it affects the environment.

What is Reishi?
The truth is, the concept of leather that isn't from animals but plants can seem like quite a reach. Many people may get the immediate idea that it is not as strong, flexible, or durable as the product we are used to. However, like animal leather, which we have been using for many decades, Mycelium or Reishi is very durable, flexible, and just as strong. What's more? It's water-resistant and very breathable since it is plant-based. One unique quality of Reishi is that it can be customized into different designs, as it is very flexible and can grow into any size and feature as desired.

How does Reishi Affect the Environment?
Right off the bat, we would all agree that the time and resources that go into processing animal-based leather are extremely damaging to the environment. It takes about 6-8 weeks to complete the dyeing, tanning, and other processes. Also, a lot of toxic chemicals are used during these processes, and not only does this affect the environment in the form of air and soil pollution, but it is also toxic to the factory workers. 

  • The production process of Reishi or Mycelium, on the other hand, takes a fraction of the time used for conventional leather production.
  • It also does not need as many resources and chemicals used in animal leather production, making it a lot more friendly to the environment.
  • Reishi is also cruelty-free as it does not rely on animals for its production.
  • The leather gotten from Mycelium is 100% biodegradable, and it does not contribute to the waste we have at landfills.
  • Also, Reishi can easily be customized into different shapes, styles, and features straight from the source leave no room for product waste.
  • Fashion materials made from Reishi are also incredibly durable. This is mainly because Mycelium is water-resistant, doesn't fade quickly, and also resistant to moisture absorption. 

MycoWorks uses patented technology to create this leather by enhancing the natural mycelium threads to make leather that is of very high quality and just as durable as animal leather.
With Ross, Sophia, and Matt at the forefront of this company, you can be sure that we will be seeing plant-based leather more often in fashion in the coming years. The entire process and benefits of this fungus seem too good to be true. Still, with climate change threatening our planet, we can't help but be grateful for our favorite items' environmental-friendly options. 

All images copyright and courtesy of MycoWorks.