Vegan Alternatives To Leather
Consumers have become aware over time on how the use of materials are being obtained, and with many vegan options available, leather may be a thing of the past. There are several vegan alternatives to leather and businesses around the world are cashing in on them. Companies are removing animal leather to invest in the alternative market, and I have nine options to go over in this article.
The pictures I added are not vegan since I don’t have images for these yet. I chose authentic leather which is the soft black leather tote bag, faux or fake leather which is the pink croc leather purse and suede leather which is the light blue suede bucket bag with the gold chain and tassel. Suede is made from the underside of the skin, mainly from lamb, goat, calf or deer. Suede leather will resemble the mushroom ‘Muskin’ leather. The thought of slaughtering all those animals is enough to make the change. This synthetic leather market is expected to reach $85 billion by 2025. Companies are offering innovative and high tech vegan leather, and becoming climate positive reducing emissions. The nine alternatives include corn, soy, tea, cork, paper, mushrooms, pineapples, apples, and grapes.
Bio polyols are plant-based polymers derived from natural renewable sources. Think of grains and seeds from food free cereal crops over petrochemical origins. During manufacturing, these fibers don’t generate carbon dioxide emissions. The main new raw materials in bio polyols are either field corn or yellow dents. Yellow dents grow on over 99 percent of Northern America cornfield acres and are produced to make ethanol and other manufactured goods. Field corn isn’t usable for human consumption. Its textile use has no impact on edible corn.
Indonesia is creating soy leather made from liquid runoff essential to tofu production. Used for purses, wallets, and footwear, it’s a low cost, no waste fabric. This leather-like material is not available yet.
Kombucha tea is more than a healthy drink. It is being used to make vegan leather and is referred to as Teather. The materials continue to be tested as fibers and are being harvested showing promise.
Portugal is one country that manufactures cork skin that is very light in weight, waterproof, insulating and flexible. It offers cork with cotton, nylon or polyester coated polyurethane backings. It uses cork oak which is naturally regenerating, water resistant, and has outer bark cells from cork oak trees. For more information on cork, read my article ‘Fabric Selections for Women’s Bags’.
Vegan paper leather is created in an array of colors and textures. The textiles are nontoxic and plastic free. They are composed of recycled paper, used fabric, natural glues, waxes, emollients, and oils.
Italy creates several vegan textiles that include mushroom leather which resembles suede. MuSkin is made from mushroom caps that are tanned with nontoxic ingredients. This is not like toxic chemicals that are used for leather made from cow or other animal skins. This biodegradable material is soft, water repellent and more breathable than animal leather. It is perfect for shoe soles, belts, and purses.
Spain and the UK have developed Pinatex. It’s a breathable, flexible and soft material. You can print and stitch on it. Uses are for home furnishings, automotive industries, footwear and fashion accessories like handbags. These fibers are byproducts from the pineapple harvest. They don’t require water, fertilizers, extra land or pesticides as what is needed to cultivate pineapples for consumption. The leaves are made into mesh material that feels like felt.
The wasted pulp is what’s used for apple leather, which is left behind in the cider pressing process. The material is biodegradable and edible. This product is meant to break down naturally, going back into the soil where it came from.
The latest material is wine leather which is produced by the processing solid remains of grapes. It is a natural raw material made from the skin of a grape, the seeds, and stalk that is discarded while making wine. This leather will be available in 2018, where companies will be able to purchase Wine Leather. It will be used to make furniture, garments, bags, and accessories.
It’s great to see how many alternatives we have so far, as more will be found in the future.
Using an all weather protection spray like Tana All Protector or a conditioner you would purchase for shoes, would benefit your bags preventing rust and stains and keeping them in shape, lasting longer.
I added a new merchant, eBags where you can shop for over 700 Men’s Wallets at eBags, click on ‘Men’ then ‘Wallets’. They also carry women’s and men’s bags and travel products!
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