In 2020 and for a while now, we do not need to wear animal skins...Grapes, pineapples, apples and even cactus,vegan leathers are definetely a thing and we are thrilled about it!
To all the leather enthusiasts, those who think leather is the key to look like a badass , those who cannot live without your perfecto jackets and all the curious minds who wonder how an apple can end up as a shoe, you are in the right place.
What's your poison? Wine, piña colada, calvados or tequila?
As a french lady, there is almost no way to have an aperitif without a bottle of wine and soon there will no way to have a wardrobe without a skirt, dress or even perfecto jacket made out of grape leather.
Created by the italian company Vegea through a process for the valorization of wine waste called grape marc (grape skins, stalks and seeds discarded during wine production), this grape leather allows to recycle up to 7 billions kilos of grape marc per year to produce up to 3 billions square meters!
Can you imagine the number of spared calfs?
So team calfskin or grape leather ?
For me, the choice is clear, and H&M seems to agree since they attributed the Global change Award to the italian company and we can now shop sustainable shoes and bags made out of Vegea (The grape leather nickname !!) on their website!
Here is a sneak peek of the H&M Conscious Exclusive Collection (Spring 2020) :
The Pineapple leather : Piñatex
Piñatex is a non-woven material made of fibre from the waste leaves from the pineapple plant!
After the harvest, these leaves which were originally burnt are collected and the fibres are extracted and then go through a manufacturing process you can see below to obtain the beautiful and innovative natural textile called Piñatex.
If you are interested, go check up Ananas Anam, the makers of this sustainably-sourced material.
And to give you an idea of the infinite possibilities offered by this raw material, here are some items made out of this cruelty-free leather :
Here is some items from the french brand Camille that I like and that also sells appleskin bags, the vegan leather I talk about just below.
Another example of by-product, this time from the apple juice and cider industry.
The waste of that industry is now transformed into a material for various applications.
This raw material can have a variety of textures, thicknesses or even laser prints which explain why it is a very good plant-based alternative to leather.
Here is the sample box of the danish company The Apple Girl :
Another company that produces this tresor is the Rotterdam company Fruit Leather.
They transform leftover fruits into durable, leather-like material.
Seen during the Green Carpet Fashion Awards in Milan in 2018 where the italian compagny Frumat won the Technology and Innovation Award for their own apple leather called Apple Skin, this beautiful alternative to leather is, nonetheless not that easy to find as finished goods.
Here are a few items I found :
the sneakers from the belgian brand Komrads or the ones from the London brand Pozu.
And again, the french brand Camille :
As for interior design, you can see below some sofas made by Philippe Starck for the brand Cassina in apple leather. Gorgeous, don't you think?
An "eco-friendly" leather made out of Cactus which grows with rain water! No irrigation system needed in this mexican ranch.
Only the mature leaves of the plant are cut without damaging the cactus itself, so every 6-8 months, there will have a new harvest to create even more of this beautiful raw material.
Created by the mexican ranchers Adrian Lopez and Marte Cazarez, Desserto (cute nickname right?) is a highly sustainable plant based vegan-leather.
The 1st one is called Muskin.
Also produced by an italian company (once again a proof that Italy is a powerhouse in the fashion industry ) called Grado Zero Espace.
It comes from a kind of big parasitic fungus that grows in the wild and attacks the trees in the subtropical forests.. The total absence of toxic substance makes Muskin ideal for the use in close-to-skin applications and thanks to its very natural origin it limits bacteria proliferation.
Its soft surface has a “touch” very similar to suede-like products and its consistence, or texture, goes from soft to slightly harder as cork : a completely different and unique alternative to leather!
The second one is called Reishi.
It is created by the american start-up MyCoWorks
I can't wait to see items made out of this one.
You can follow their instagram account @madewithreishi if you are curious!
Teak leaf Leather
Created by the german company Nuvi Nomad (Peta approved), this "leather" is made from teak leaves handpicked in the Chiang Mai Forest, in the far North of Thailand.
The result is a light-weight, durable, water-resistant, anti-fungal and non-toxic alternative to leather, available in a range of fashionable colours.
Here are a few examples of the environmentally sustainable, fair trade and cruelty-free Nuvi Nomad accessories :
Won over by those leather alternatives ?
As fast as the fashion industry evolves nowadays, I will regularly update this article with discoveries of new innovative cruelty-free materials!
And if you know of some other alternative to leather you want me to write about,
do not hesitate to send me a message!