Plant-based leather is cruelty-free
Over the years, many fashion giants have come under the spotlight for using animal leather.
However, it is fair to say that things are changing, and celebrities worldwide are also opting for more ethical choices.
For instance, vegan leather is becoming a thing, and celebrities are going crazy for it, as it is a perfect alternative to traditional leather.
But what exactly is vegan leather?
Vegan leather can be classified into two main categories, synthetic and plant-based leather.
Shweta Nimkar, the founder of a vegan footwear brand, explained:
“Any leather that is made without the use of any animal products/hide is called vegan leather.
“There are several varieties in vegan leather, from manmade leather, polyurethane (PU leather) etc. to leather made from pineapple, cactus and other plants.”
She also added:
“A 2017 report from the Copenhagen Fashion Summit has brought the world’s attention to one pretty significant truth: Synthetic leather is less harmful to the planet than cow leather.
“The 2017 Pulse of The Fashion Industry Report compares the environmental impact of animal leather versus synthetic leather, and other textiles.
“When you compare genuine leather to vegan/synthetic leather, this report found that materials such as genuine leather are amongst the top five least environmentally sustainable products.
“In comparison, synthetic or vegan leather has far less impact in terms of greenhouse gases, water used for production and depletion of fossil fuels, not to mention the animal abuse and cruelty that follows in order to produce genuine leather.”
Plant-based leather’s popularity is growing, despite being relatively expensive at the moment.
According to Rumika Sharma, the founder of Broke Mate, plant-based leather ‘will become affordable as the demand and popularity grows.’
Plant-based leather is cruelty-free, but it also has a low impact on the environment, as the use of plastic is minimal.
“Plant-based leathers are essentially leather alternatives derived using bio-material from plants as the primary source.
“For example, you have Piñatex, a new-age non-woven natural textile fabric made from pineapple leaf waste.
“There is also Desserto (cactus leather), that’s made from the pulp of the Nopal cactus and cork.
“Then there’s apple leather made from crushed apple skin and mushroom leather made from mycelium.
“I also recently saw some research being done on palm leather where the leaves of the areca palm are softened using a proprietary process to make them pliable.”
Many designers are switching to vegan leather for one main reason.
Customers are becoming more conscious about sustainability, making more ethical choices when it comes to shopping.
Shivani Patel, the founder of Arture, uses cork fabric for her bags and travel accessories.
“As the consumer is becoming more aware of sustainable choices, there has been an increase in demand for vegan leather, and we only see this trend growing in the future.”
In India, engineer Ankit Agarwal created a vegan leather made from upcycled flowers, which caught the attention of luxury fashion brands and the United Nations.
Together with scientist Saumya Srivastava, they initially launched Kanpur Flower Cycling Private Limited, in 2018. This company made incense from leftover flowers found in temples.
Srivastava told Verve Magazine that they noticed a ‘dense, fibrous’ material growing out of the flower fibres, one day.
She also added:
‘And the texture of that resembled that of leather in terms of elasticity and tensile strength and all of that. So that’s how the research started.’
That is how their brand Fleather was born.