People around the world are looking for ways to stay fashionable and stylish without damaging the environment or contributing to animal cruelty. With the rising wave of environmentally conscious fashion lovers like yourselves, the fashion industry is making a big turn towards vegan and eco-friendly leather alternatives to prove to the world that you don’t need to sacrifice your fashion sense to help save the planet.
Here are 5 eco-friendly vegan leathers that fashion innovators have pioneered and are trending in the fashion industry around the globe.
Eco-friendly, Vegan Leather
Photograph by: Svala
Pinatex, a synthetic leather made from cellulose fibers that are extracted from pineapple leaves, is taking over the world. This vegan leather made from upcycled food waste from pineapples has found its way into big fashion brands such as H&M, Hugo Boss, and Paul Smith. So, it’s safe to say this eco-friendly vegan leather is one of the most widely available options out there.
Pinatex was originally developed by Dr. Carmen Hijosa in the 1990s as a Ph.D. student at the Royal College of Art in the UK. She would later go on to be a founder of the company, Ananas Anam, the leading manufacturer of Pinatex leather in the world.
This eco-friendly vegan leather is used to manufacture handbags, straps, belts, watch straps, and many other clothing items.
Image: Laflore Paris
If you want something a bit more natural and softer to the touch, you can’t go wrong with vegan cork leather.
This eco-friendly vegan leather, derived from bark from oak trees found throughout the Mediterranean, is an amazing alternative that contains no plastic or petroleum-based products, biodegradable or otherwise. Cork leather is also “sustainable, washable, stain resistant, durable, antimicrobial and hypoallergenic” (HZCork).
The most striking aspect of vegan cork leather and other items on this list is that they have a unique texture. They don’t attempt to be a mere alternative to animal-based leather but rather offer something completely new and fascinating in terms of look and feel.
Turns out the fleshy texture of mushrooms doesn’t just make them an awesome alternative to meat, but it also makes them a perfect candidate for creating eco-friendly vegan leather.
Mushroom leather has been making waves since last year, being touted by many publications such as the Smithsonian, The New York Times, and The Guardian, as a “sustainability gamechanger”, “the next sustainable fashion material”, and the “future of alternative leather.” Mushroom Leather has found its way into the manufacturing process of high-end companies like Hermes, furniture maker Ligne Roset, and General Motors
This game-changing eco-friendly vegan leather is made from mycelium fiber. The people who developed this leather, Phillip Ross and Sophia Wang, founded MycoWorks in 2013 after experimenting with mycelium for five years.
It’s important to note that mushroom leather is, as of the publication of this article, considered a luxury item. The founders of MycoWorks have declined to comment on the pricing of this eco-friendly vegan leather but they said it competes with “exotic hides.” Other sources claim that it costs about $150-160 per square meter ($50 per square foot).
Image: Tree Tribe
Leaf leather is unique in that one of its sellers claims that it is not actually leather but rather harvested teak leaves mended with fabric. When you look at the texture of this eco-friendly vegan material, you begin to understand why they proudly claim that it’s not leather.
Wallets, purses, and bags made from this material show their eco-friendly vegan ethos when you see a leaf proudly adorning the surface as if shouting, “Look at me. I’m made of leaves!”
The best part of cactus leather is that it’s instantly renewable in that it’s created by taking the mature pads from a prickly-pear cactus and leaving it to grow. In essence, this gives this eco-friendly vegan leather the unique distinction of being made from a living ecosystem.
Cacti are renowned for being very resilient as they need little water or pesticides to grow, and they play a huge role in climate mitigation. Only one manufacturer in the world makes this type of leather, Desserto, and they grow cacti using only rainwater to reduce excess water use.
Gael Ghattas’s Specialty Vegan Leather
As you know, all our items, including straps and bags are made from 100% eco-friendly material. The leather you see in this Khaki Bloom Bag is not in any one of the entries on this list but rather something unique to our brand. At Gael Ghattas, we emphasize the importance of being both fashionable, durable, and eco-friendly. You can check out our website and see the quality of our items.
You love the look and feel of leather but you are also conflicted because you don’t like how much it damages the environment. With these options, you can have your stylish leather handbags guilt-free. So, when your friends ask you how you look so stylish, tell them that it’s all 100% eco-friendly and vegan and that you learned it from Gael Ghattas.