MycaNova®, a Belgian vegan leather made from mycelium

MycaNova®, a Belgian vegan leather made from mycelium


The first bag collection made with Belgian upcycled mycelium, a next-gen vegan leather made with the root-like system of mushrooms.

We celebrated the 5th anniversary of the brand Lies Mertens with a innovative collection, made out of MycaNova®. MycaNova® is a next-gen vegan leather made with mycelium, the root-like system of mushrooms.

After five years of experimenting to link our recognisable aesthetic with a fair and transparent manufacturing process, we wanted to go a step further through this collaboration withMycaNova®

“We strongly believe in the use of leather as a residual product from the meat industry. However, given that this industry has a large environmental impact, it is important to start focusing on innovative and high-quality alternatives. This is how our collaboration with MycaNova® started”—Lies Mertens

What is mycelium?

Mycelium is the root-like structure of a fungus, which can grow underground or on decomposing tree trunks. From mycelium, fungi can produce fruiting bodies, such as mushrooms. Mycelium forms a complex network of microscopic tubes that serve various functions as it grows. For example, mycelium contains all the necessary enzymes for natural decomposition and provides plants and trees with essential nutrients. Additionally, mycelium is vital in facilitating communication between different plants and trees, earning it the nickname “the wood wide web.”

There are various types of mycelia, each with its unique properties. The fungus responsible for producing the MycaNova mycelium has evolved over several decades to thrive on sugar molasses and produce citric acid, resulting in the co-production of mycelium.

What is MycaNova®?

MycaNova® is a product of Citribel, a Belgian company specialised in the production of citric acid. Citribel uses sugar molasses, a residual product from the nearby sugar factory in Tienen, and ferments it into citric acid, during which mycelium is formed. Until a few years ago, mycelium was considered a waste product. Today, it is dried and ground into powder which, combined with binding agents and backing materials, becomes a vegan leather alternative.

MycaNova® is elastic yet sturdy, rain and scratch resistant and tactile. In every square meter of MycaNova®, 20 to 60 grams of plastic is replaced with mycelium. We are proud to be the first Belgian brand to launch a product made from this innovative Belgian biomaterial.

Four elements drove our choice for MycaNova®:

1. MycaNova® is a Belgian innovation, developed and made in Europe, which keeps the production chain as short as possible. 

2. MycaNova® is made with mycelium, a co-product of the production of citric acid, and is manufactured in existing industrial infrastructures. Significant environmental costs such as new buildings, machinery, and additional CO2 emissions are avoided because of this. 

3. MycaNova® is equivalent in quality and sensory experience to animal leather. It is elastic, sturdy, rain-resistant, and scratch-resistant.

4. MycaNova® is transparent about the composition of the material and the concerns still to tackle.

The Lies bag is the first bag to be executed in the vegan leather MycaNova®. The bag plays with clean volumes, however has a novel organic and soft feel to it. When unfolded, it features a spacious main compartment alongside extra smaller pockets to keep your essentials organised. The adjustable shoulder strap provides practicality and versatility.

One of a kind mycelium inspired edition of the Lies bag

We present a limited edition of Lies bags, inspired by the network of mycelium. The front is embroidered by hand in our atelier in Antwerp.

Made on demand & by hand with a delivery time of 6 weeks.

meet the people behind MycaNova

In collaboration with MycaNova®

Supported by Stad Antwerpen