interview: YUME YUME x MycoWorks debut head-to-toe outfit made of mycelium leather

interview: YUME YUME x MycoWorks debut head-to-toe outfit made of mycelium leather

yume yume and mycoworks on the three-piece Reishi™ outfit

 

YUME YUME, the Amsterdam-based brand renowned for its bold, functional designs, unveils a head-to-toe look made from Reishi™, a revolutionary leather alternative developed by Biotech company Mycoworks using Fine Mycelium™. Showcasing at Amsterdam’s Buro Stedelijk, this unique collection unfolds as a multi-sensory celebration of the fascinating world of mycelium, all while demonstrating the brand’s pivotal shift towards learning from the natural world that responds to the needs and uses of our time. As YUME YUME founder, Eva Korsten, tells designboom: ‘This is the future of materials, it’s so fascinating what kind of intelligent living system it is. I feel there’s a shift happening in the fashion industry’s mindset. Making design pieces entirely with Reishi™ shows that a different future in fashion is possible.’

interview: YUME YUME x MycoWorks debut head-to-toe outfit made of mycelium leather
head-to-toe Reishi™ outfit | all images © YUME YUME

 

 

a multi-sensory exploration of mycelium in fashion and art

 

In an ongoing mission of seeking alternative materials, YUME YUME introduces a three-piece edit grounded in biofabrication, jointly with Creative Director Xavier Gallego from MycoWorks, the only mycelium biotechnology company rooted in art. The duo celebrates this collaboration with Descent into Fungal — a multi-sensory and interactive exhibition at Amsterdam’s new art space, Buro Stedelijk. Running until January 25, 2024, the show features the Reishi™ outfit design (Grown by Nature Trench with intricate ruched and pleated details, signature Fisherman Boots, and supersize Mushroom Hat), Mycelium Stage, a living artwork that evolves and interacts with visitors and artistic displays over time, and a conceptual art video exploring the human and artistic influence on mycelium growth. This three-part show encourages visitors to engage with this natural material in a hands-on way, providing a deeper insight into its ecological and technological value.

In the final two months, the exhibition transforms, showcasing mycelium’s live response to human senses through immersive artist performances. These experiences emblematize the material’s remarkable sensitivity, emphasizing the dedicated care in treating nature and building connections among people and the environment. Read on as MycoWorks’ Xavier Gallego and YUME YUME’s Eva Korsten walk us through their collaboration and immersive exhibition, as well as the promising future of bio-innovation in fashion and art. 

interview: YUME YUME x MycoWorks debut head-to-toe outfit made of mycelium leather
the outfit features: Grown by Nature Trench, Fisherman Boots and Mushroom Hat

 

 

interview with Xavier Gallego and eva korsten

 

designboom (DB): Walk us through the collaboration for the three-piece Reishi™ outfit. What inspired it?

 

Xavier Gallego (XG): YUME YUME is a brand I’ve admired for their sense of aesthetics: their bold designs together with curious and innovative ways of thinking have led to a dream partnership for our creative studio at MycoWorks. Eva and I met personally a while ago, and we connected right away. Since day one she and David have understood the creative potential of Reishi™, and how different it is from other materials thanks to the unique properties of mycelium our technology has unlocked. We’re thrilled to have been able to collaborate on a head-to-toe outfit with YUME YUME. Their signature Grown by Nature Trench, Fisherman Boots, and Mushroom Hat were made in all-black Reishi in a humorous, bold style. We love it when designers explore different ways to use the material. So it’s been really rewarding to see the unexpected ways Eva has designed with Reishi™: she used what we have typically called ‘the back’ of our sheets—with a more suede-like texture—to create these really cool, one-of-a-kind pieces.

interview: YUME YUME x MycoWorks debut head-to-toe outfit made of mycelium leather
Descent into Fungal: exhibition and multi-sensory installation at Buro Stedelijk

 

 

Our collaboration with YUME YUME has been incredibly inspiring for how it’s allowed us to push the boundaries of Reishi™ in product design. Eva was very excited to play with the material and see how far forward she could push Reishi in her designs. And I love that—I love working with people that challenge the material, that use it in new ways. It’s innovative and it expands our understanding here at MycoWorks of Reishi™’s properties and what it can do. And I believe this YUME YUME collection proves that our material pushes our designers and collaborators, too, because they have to find different ways to manufacture and to create. That relationship, that symbiosis, is similar in a lot of ways to how our company functions. It’s about coming from a starting point of curiosity, working with collaborators that have high standards, and letting things grow: let the collaboration grow and let the possibilities for the material grow.

interview: YUME YUME x MycoWorks debut head-to-toe outfit made of mycelium leather
a three-part show encouraging visitors to engage with the natural material in a hands-on way

 

 

Eva Korsten (EK): With YUME YUME, our dream is to build a multi-disciplinary artistic space that attracts creatives from different fields and work together on blurring the lines between art and fashion by pushing our boundaries beyond the ordinary – rethinking about the status quo. What MycoWorks does, is exactly that. Since I started designing, I have run up against the same problem of finding the right materials as I don’t want to use animal products but also not wanting to design using oil based fabrics that can’t be decomposed. The Reishi™ material provides a solution for this. I’m so amazed and inspired by the endless possibilities and countless forms that mycelium can take on. With MycoWorks, a collaboration like this is so mind-bending from a creative side of things. Natural materials are limited. For us, it’s very encouraging to learn about mycelium and its potential. This is the future of materials, it’s so fascinating what kind of intelligent living system it is. I feel there’s a shift happening in the fashion industry’s mindset. Making design pieces entirely with Reishi™ shows that a different future in fashion is possible.

interview: YUME YUME x MycoWorks debut head-to-toe outfit made of mycelium leather
Reishi™ is a revolutionary leather alternative developed by MycoWorks | GIF/Video © YUME YUME

 

 

DB: What is the overarching goal of the exhibition at Buro Stedelijk, particularly in showcasing mycelium in a multi-sensory installation? How do you envision visitors connecting with the designs?

 

XG: Descent Into Fungal at the Stedelijk is cutting-edge and thought provoking because it’s pushing artists to look at nature as the source of their art and design. What I want you to feel as a visitor inside the exhibition is that mycelium is an organism that is alive and that we have the ability to co-create with it. When you see the head-to-toe made by YUME YUME, I want you to see what’s possible when you master, when you engineer that organism. You can create a material that’s beautiful, durable and high quality to then partner with brands like YUME YUME and creative directors like Eva to create a stunning head-to-toe. So to me it’s about the emotions of understanding that nature can give us more than what it’s giving us today.

The head-to-toe edit by YUME YUME is an incredible example of the mastery of mycelium in design as is their mycelium installation growing over the course of the exhibit; every breath, step and your mere presence will change how that mycelial sculpture will grow, a tremendous example of how humans can impact mycelium. These installations are at the root of MycoWorks artistic foundations where our co-founders unlocked mycelium’s incredible properties through creative practice and craftsmanship. Today, Reishi is the hallmark product of our Fine Mycelium technology which has engineered mycelium to grow into a beautiful, durable, high-quality material that creatives can now powerfully create with.

 

yume-yume-mycoworks-reishi-outfit-designboom-full

 

EK: To share something which is very close to our hearts with a wider audience. To show the potential of mycelium, providing a deeper understanding of its ecological and technological significance and hoping to evoke a similar moment of hope I had when I learned about it. Fashion is an industry that is high pace and continuously moves fast. Art is an industry that allows more time to discover, think and process what you are looking at. I just felt it needed more time to be appreciated by more than just our team, the ‘Decent into Fungal’ exhibition gives us that time. I think presenting this head-to-toe look in an exhibit form creates a sense of pause, an open invitation to collectively look at what is happening and searching for alternatives – a perspective of where we can go to set the path for the future. Giving full visibility to the pure beauty of the mycelium material, I’m very excited to have the Reishi™ styles at Buro Stedelijk, to share with visitors of what we’ve learned so far and hopefully raise awareness around design choices. 

 

The installation is a narrative journey that literally comes to life with the mycelium growing, a transformation of two months’ time would show an entirely different artwork with its real time action-reaction towards human emotions, touch, sound and light via immersive and thought-provoking performances by artists coming from different disciplines. Evidence of which might be expressed in the organism’s responsiveness to its surroundings – representing the dedicated care required in treating nature, but also each other and the world around us.

interview: YUME YUME x MycoWorks debut head-to-toe outfit made of mycelium leather
close-up shot of the Grown by Nature Trench coat

 

 

DB: What are your thoughts on the evolution of biofabrication in the fashion industry?

 

XG: There’s actually an incredible summit in the new year we’ll be joining in Paris, called Biofabricate, that is all about this. Suzanne Lee, who heads the organization, describes biofabrication as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. MycoWorks is a pioneer in this new materials revolution, as a biotech company pioneering a new class of material. Our partnership with Hermès is an example of the patience and commitment it takes to develop the kind of innovative material with the high quality and performance that can lead the way. From our angle, fashion is already embracing that the new era of innovation is via biology and technology. So many incredible artists and designers like YUME YUME have their finger on the pulse of this and are working with us on this journey.

 

EK: While there’s so much that needs to be done and change for the better, research and experimentations now also take into account factors such as commercial viability and scalable business models, which is very encouraging as it’s a step towards getting closer to low-impact creation – a new way of keeping the environmental impact of the fashion industry under control is coming.

interview: YUME YUME x MycoWorks debut head-to-toe outfit made of mycelium leather
close-up shot of Living Mycelium Dunes installation

 

 

DB: Xavier, what motivated you to explore mycelium in art? How do you balance the scientific and aesthetic layers of your approach?

 

XG: The worlds of art and science may seem far apart but they have two important things in common: curiosity and being fearless of the unknown. The DNA of MycoWorks is to mix different kinds of talent to truly innovate. Our founders are artists who engage with scientific processes and practices, and our technological development teams bring innovation and creativity to their problem-solving and their experiments. And it takes scientists and designers working hand-in-hand to create a material like Reishi and a technology like Fine Mycelium. Our scientists and artists work together – blending craftsmanship, creative problem solving, and a drive to ask more from the material – to achieve Reishi’s peak level of performance. It’s because of our creative DNA we’ve been able to continually innovate to achieve the quality and performance that we have. Behind me is a whole team of folks like myself who are unafraid of the unexpected, excited to be involved in pioneering a new class of material and ready to take the extra step to create something high-quality and excellent. This spirit is everywhere in Descent into Fungal.

interview: YUME YUME x MycoWorks debut head-to-toe outfit made of mycelium leather
MycoWorks and YUME YUME’s collaboration is bringing major shifts to the fashion industry

 

 

DB: Could you elaborate on the unique properties of Reishi™ and how it differs from traditional materials used in fashion design?

 

XG: Reishi is one-of-a-kind because it is an incredibly tuneable material by virtue of being a grown biomaterial. The closest comparison to Reishi today is natural leather, but Reishi is really a new category of material that can be grown-to-order and grown-to-spec for thickness, strength, texture and drape. It is soft, beautiful, supple and familiar to the touch–a mirror to our own skin. And yet, it’s standard-setting in performance by being strong, durable and ready for wear. Unlike other alternative leathers, it’s near-zero plastic, making it feel alive and emotional. Taken together, this specific combination of traits is unparalleled in the materials category.

interview: YUME YUME x MycoWorks debut head-to-toe outfit made of mycelium leather
Descent into Fungal is on view until January 25, 2024

 

 

DB: Eva, how did you approach the fusion of art, design, and materials science in the head-to-toe Reishi™ outfit?
How did this collaboration and process differ from your previous collections or projects?

 

EK: I wanted to give a voice to ideas that touch and affect us on a daily basis, search for who we are as a brand and relate to our environmental world around us. The greatest work of art connects and engages with our senses, heart, soul, and mind – this is what I took with me into the creative process. I wanted to show the beauty of mycelium in its purest form, but also the beauty of how it’s transformative and revolutionary.

 

 

DB: And did you encounter any challenges while crafting the look? If so, how were these overcome?

 

EK: Each step into the process showed us a new option we didn’t know about before. Everyone involved was so excited and eager to learn more about it. We had to find new ways of working with our existing tools and machines. We had to take our current design process and rethink each action. We selected what pieces of material would be best for which piece of the garment and made adjustments to the patterns to ensure the Reishi™ and garments compliment each other. It’s been such a learning curve and very very excited to discover and share more.

interview: YUME YUME x MycoWorks debut head-to-toe outfit made of mycelium leather
the unique collection is part of YUME YUME’s quest to look for alternative, healthy materials

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