Have you ever come across a leather that is sustainably produced and partially biodegradable? Well, the answer probably will be no. But today we will introduce you to a futuristic and environment-friendly fabric that can replace leather. This leather is being produced in Mexico and there are two masterminds behind it. But more of that later, let’s see first why real leather is harmful to the environment?
Problem with real leather:
- Requires a lot of water for animal rearing
- Needs even more water during leather production
- Involves skinning of animals and slaughter
- Over a billion animals are killed to feed the ever-expanding leather industry
- It is non-biodegradable
- It requires chemical bleaching
- The chemicals used in tanning is often not disposed of properly, making it harmful to the environment
- Rearing of animals for leather increases carbon emissions
- Fashion industry that consumes the most leather is the 2nd largest polluter in the world
- The fashion industry produces almost 100,000,000 tons of waste out of which leather is a sizeable contributor
What is the solution?
Well if we consider faux leather as a solution then I feel we are looking in the wrong direction. Considering the cost to the environment, faux leather causes more harm than real leather. As faux leather is made of plastic it makes it non-biodegradable.
In recent times, a more viable option for creating leather has been “vegan leather”. Two of the most fabulous people who have made long strides in producing this type of leather using natural materials are Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez. Both from Mexico have developed vegan leather made of nopal (a cactus) that was successfully exhibited in Milan, Italy, last October 2019.
The creators could finally finish marketable cactus leather in July 2019, after two years of research and sheer hard work. The trade name is Desserto and it has attractive qualities, such as elasticity and being flexible and breathable, compared to animal or synthetic leather.
How leather is produced from cactus?
In their patented process they cut the cactus leaves, clean them, mash it and dry it for three days. Then they mix it with non-toxic chemicals and shape it into any texture or color you want. This organic biodegradable and durable vegan leather lasts up to 10 years and it’s flexible and breathable as well.
Maybe it is time to consider vegan options like the leather produced by Desserto. Not only this leather is eco-friendly but it can be widely used in the fashion, furniture and automotive industry to replace real leather. The production of this leather can increase gainful employment and that too without a harmful environment that leather industry workers have to work in. The cost of this leather is comparable to real leather and thats why it is an amazing creation.
Do you think top fashion brands will embrace this kind of leather?
Read our exclusive story about the Fur Industry to know more about the injustice that is happening to animals.