While the world is thinking about sustainable products and its future, cactus leather innovation has added a new dimension to the sustainability activity. Two Mexican entrepreneurs Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez have recently invented the world’s first vegan leather from the nopal cactus after completing two years of successful research and development.
Its trade name is Desserto. Cactus is known to be rugged, hard, thick, and pointy. When fully processed, it feels like genuine leather with soft, durable, resilient and high enough quality. Vegan leather is flexible so any shape can be performed. The finished product is highly sustainable with a lower carbon footprint than other leather alternatives and it can be used to make apparel clothing (jackets, shoes, bags, and wallets), accessories, furniture, and even car interiors.
The best part of the cactus leather is that it is partially biodegradable because it contains some plastic molecules. Its high resistance and long durability (minimum 10 years) characteristic have created a craze among eco-friendly concern persons.
Moreover, the brand has adopted to natural dyes for processing the cactus leather that does not impact the environment.
As this plant needs very little water to grow and there is plenty of opportunities to cultivate throughout the world, it can reduce a huge amount of drinkable water. According to Animal Rights Group PETA, it will be able to save almost 1 billion animals from being killed every year for their skin which affects the environment ecosystem.
“It’s the right time to offer this alternative, because not only are consumer industries interested in new materials like these but also more and more end-consumers are demanding environmentally friendly materials,” told Adrián López Velarde to media.
Once the mature leaves have been cut, they are dried under the sun for three days until they contain the right amount of water needed for successful processing. Vegan leather, even if it is less plastic-based, is still more environmentally friendly than leather items made from animals for several reasons. Hazardous chemicals are required to tanning animal’s leather whereas vegan leather isn’t.
Cactus Leather’s price is slightly less than animal leather. Experts say, now it is in development stages but if it will go to manufacturing plants on large scale, this price will be more affordable means fashion with the cheapest cost in a sustainable way.
Various brands are coming ahead to produce plant-based eco-friendly leather alternatives keeping in mind customer’s choice. High-street retailer H&M and Hugo Boss unveiled vegan jacket and sneakers made from a pineapple while German footwear brand Thies launched leather shoes made from olive leaves.
Desserto has attracted everyone’s eye in International Leather Fair Lineapelle 2019 in Milan, Italy. Vogue Australia reported that Desserto had the most buzz of all companies at the entire event.
It wins Germany’s International Green Product Award. Industry insiders hope that it could be a potential game-changer for the leather industry.