Did you know there are many plant-based alternatives to leather?! These materials are kind to animals, the environment, and people too. According to the comprehensive Pulse of Fashion Report, even polyurethane vegan leather has more than half the environmental impact of animal-derived leather. While it is a big step in the right direction, plant-based alternatives take it many steps further towards achieving sustainability. These innovations are only improving over time with further research and development, so we can expect to see improving properties over time like increased biodegradability. Here are just a few of the many plant-based options taking over!
This LUCKYNELLY micro handbag is made from Berriestex; a new plant-based textile made from sorted strawberries! The founder of LUCKYNELLY is Berlin-based designer Christine Rochlitz has developed this innovative vegan material made from overripe strawberry waste, which offers an alternative to exotic leathers. The strawberries waste is mixed with different vegan and organic ingredients. It becomes water-resistant and durable with a covering consisting of a special plant oil-based liquid. The designer explains that the finished material is flexible, sewable, and reminiscent of ostrich leather. The material is very new, having just been revealed this month on the luxury brand’s social media.
2.) Teak Leaves
The real unique patterns from each teak leaf can be seen with the final product. This is different compared to leather and polyurethane which are both embossed with a faux pattern to mimic nature. Dried teak leaf fabric can be different colours, some that can really pop like this beautiful brown crossbody handbag by Genuinely not Leather.
3.) Kraft Paper
Lightweight kraft paper is a natural fibre with high tear resistance. It can be made to look different with colour, left as its natural colour, or have a print throughout as you can see here with the floral print kraft paper backpack by Doshi.
Desserto is a vegan cactus leather. Like many of the other alternative out there, cactus leather uses tremendously fewer resources like water. It also does not require herbicides or pesticides. The material is breathable, UV resistant, and flexible. It’s commonly seen in black or a green colour like these lovely wallets by CACTO.
Cork is made from harvesting the bark from oak trees that are over 25 years old. Doing this will extend the life of the tree and the tree absorbs even more carbon dioxide. Here is another handbag by Genuinely not Leather which showcases just how stylish cork can be.
Piñatex has been at the forefront of plant-based leathers. It is a natural leather alternative made from cellulose fibres extracted from pineapple leaves. The leaves are a waste byproduct of harvesting pineapples. The material can be made into many brilliant colours, including the metallic gold seen here.
Born by upcycling apple waste discarded in cider production, Leap™ naturally saves time, energy and resources. You can see here the high-quality appeal of Leap by Beyond Leather.
Mylo is a textile made of mecelium. Mycelium is a multicellular-fungi and can grow into macro-size structures that we most often recognize as mushrooms. Mylo is the soft, supple material Bolt Threads has created and is already starting to be used by big names like Adidas and this outfit by Stella McCartney.