Best Places To Buy Vegan Leather
The market for cruelty-free alternatives continues to rise as more people become aware of the leather industry's negative effects on the environment, nature, and animals. Not only that, but many companies are attempting to make vegan leather as low-impact as possible by creating leather-like materials from plants.
Almost all vegan leather was manufactured of plastic-based ingredients until recently. Innovators have discovered various ways to produce vegan leather in recent years, from pineapples to cactus leaves to flowers. We've picked some of the most intriguing plant-based leathers on the market to commemorate the vegan leather industry's progress since the days of good old leather.
What is Vegan Leather?
Vegan leather can be used to create your next pair of shoes, backpack or jacket. However, these companies' materials to create their vegan leather goods are significantly more sustainable and vegan-friendly than the materials traditionally used. A simple search on YouTube will reveal numerous companies working to innovate the vegan leather industry.
Vegan Leather has been around for some time and includes Sunafrances Forever, Naturalcotton, CollaFiber-Solvent-Free and the soon-to-be-released “Octane.” There are a few different types of vegan leather on the market. The most commonly used is pebble leather, which is made from recycled plastics like water bottles. Another is pelt leather, which is made from parts of the animal that may still be present but aren't necessary to create the leather product.
Vegan leather is a term used to describe a variety of vegan-friendly alternatives to animal-based leather materials. While most commercially-produced vegan leathers today are made from petroleum-based polymers, researchers are working on making leathers from soy, coconut oil, cotton, and other plant-based materials as alternatives.
Although these materials may be made from plants, the process used to produce them often involves animal bones, skins, and other byproducts. Some vegan leathers also contain chemicals or other additives that were used to modify their texture.
Because vegan leather is made from plant-based materials, it is completely free from animal products. The primary materials used to make vegan leather are vegetable-based materials like plastic-based tannic acid and petroleum-based butanediol. The vegan leather can be easily processed and recycled.
A vast majority of vegan leather is considered faux leather because many companies use actual hides that are tinted to look like leather, but they are not technically vegan. Sometimes faux leather is used because it's cheaper than purchasing actual leather. In some cases, manufacturers may also use rubber and suede-like materials, such as fake crocodiles, to make vegan leather look like it's the real thing.
Why Choose Vegan Leather?
Vegan leather is highly affordable, and there are many options to choose from at a range of price points, making it easy to find a great-looking wallet, shoe bag, suitcase, and more. Faux leather is a low-impact alternative to real leather as no animals were harmed in making faux leather.
Vegans typically look for leather-like materials because they provide comfort and versatility in dress and decor, two of their most important attributes. Another major benefit is that vegan leather is typically stronger than non-vegan materials and is less likely to tear or scratch.
When buying vegan leather products, it is essential to consider that they typically last longer than their non-vegan counterparts, which means their environmental impact is also lessened.
Vegan leathers come in a variety of types and textures, as you can see here. In addition to leather-like materials, some vegan leathers are available as fabric options, including vegan suede, vegan canvas and even vegan corduroy.
The following reasons explain the growing popularity of this option. There is a definite demand for durable vegan leather products, especially in today's fast-paced society.
These products are also much more comfortable to wear than non-vegan alternatives such as soy, polyurethane, and viscose. These are all synthetic leathers, which contain harmful chemicals that are not found in vegan alternatives.
Vegan leather can be made of many different types of plants and, depending on the type of material, can be soft or stiff. Compared to synthetic leather, it has a lower carbon footprint and is much more eco-friendly.
Manufacturing vegan leather is far more sustainable than the animal-based leather produced by the leather industry. In fact, vegan leather production is very friendly to the environment. One could say it has a “carbon footprint” that's smaller than many ordinary items we rely on every day.
While there are many options, vegan leather offers many benefits over animal-based leather. Vegan leather is very durable and has the same feel and appearance as animal leather.
However, it is possible to distinguish between vegan leather and animal-based leather by looking at the material's pores. Vegan leather is a healthy option for those who want to avoid wearing leather shoes or handbags. It is often produced from vegetarian sources and doesn't cause any animals to die to produce this material.
Vegan leather looks feels, and smells just like leather, even though it isn't. The material can be manufactured from just about anything: plastics, flowers, plant material, or recycled fabrics.
Most vegan leather is very lightweight and flexible, which makes it easy to carry and wear. Vegan leather has been used in popular fashion brands for years. Many of these garments are now being made by more innovative companies to buy high-quality fashion without animal-based products.
Cereal Crop Leather by Will's Vegan Store
Among the first vegan leather alternatives was Cereal Crop Leather, which Will's Vegan Store began to produce last year. The company started with coconut husk fibre and recently used cactus straw fibres to produce its vegan leather.
The highest demand for the product comes from the footwear industry. Still, even large consumer goods companies such as PepsiCo Inc (NYSE: PEP), Unilever NV (NYSE: UL) and Mars Inc have started using it in their packaging, offering customers a relatively cruelty-free option. This week, the company announced that it had acquired Ponoko and AirClay for an undisclosed sum to expand its vegan leather capabilities.
Cereal Crop Leather is made from the stalks of Sunriver black spruce trees and is comparable to a vegan leather cross-stitch. It is a highly durable and breathable material that's an entirely renewable product. The only ingredients used are sunflower and soy oils, which make the material readily biodegradable.
This tanning-free vegan leather is resistant to oil, stains and water. It's also vegan, cruelty-free and fire-retardant, making it ideal for any lifestyle. Cereal crop leather is made out of dehydrated cacao nibs. While there is a slight fruitiness to the taste of the nibs, it is by no means comparable to the sweetness of real cocoa nibs.
Since the nibs are harvested, dried and ground to a fine powder, cereal crop leather feels soft and supple when it is handled. “We have enjoyed the fruitiness and sweetness of a large part of the cacao beans by creating our first collection of Cocoa Nib Crop Leather,” says Will's Vegan Store owner Will Garrett. “Our goal is to bring these delicious chocolate nibs out of the freezer and into your home. You can use these products in dishes or your daily beauty regimen. Each nib-skin is filled with all-natural moisturizers to fight irritation and to prevent dry skin.”
Pineapple Leather by Piñatex
In 2007, Scott V. Burt, a vegan chef in South Africa, became sick and tired of hunting for his dinner. His idea for creating a vegan leather material surfaced, but he had to create the process from scratch to fulfill his goal. Burt discovered a potato plant (actually a relative of the tomato) and realized it could create a leather alternative.
He found that the chemical ingredients needed to create leather were available, and thus Piñatex was born. Pineapple leather is incredibly soft but doesn't look like faux leather. Unlike real leather, it is a plant-based material that will break down when subjected to UV rays. One of the greatest benefits of pineapple leather is that it's eco-friendly. It's made entirely from waste materials.
Pineapple Leather is produced by converting pineapple leaves into a pliable material similar to leather. Piñatex says that pineapple leather is a sustainable, renewable and highly durable alternative to traditional leather, and they source 100 percent of their material from pineapple leaves. Last year, Piñatex was awarded a United Nations Earth Charter Ambassadors Global Award for advancing sustainability.
Many clothing companies have already jumped on the vegan leather bandwagon, using innovative inorganic materials such as vegan silk, vegan wool, flax, or algae for manufacturing leather substitutes. H&M and Tommy Hilfiger are just a couple of notable names that have adopted a vegan leather program. H&M is working with Italian designer Alice Dellal to create leather handbags and shoes using this material.
Piñatex makes a range of vegan leather goods, but their first product was pineapple-based PU leather. Since it's made out of pineapple, it's 100% biodegradable and even has the strength to be used for boats and cars. This material is made from pineapple leaf pulp, pulverized, heated, and then purified using natural microbes.
Pineapple Leather by Piñatex is made with tropical leaf cellulose from Pineapples without chemicals to help tan or dye the vegetable material. And thanks to innovators like Pima of the U.K., many more plant-based materials are now being produced, including leather. Piñatex manufactures this leather in Costa Rica, and it's among the best-selling vegan leathers in the market. Find It: Piñatex vegan leather (https://piñatex.com)
Cactus Leather by Desserto
Cactus leather is a great material for products that need a certain look without compromising animal and environmental conservation. An assortment of cactus leaves stems, and needles can be used in almost any design to create a warm and rugged texture.
Desserto manufactures plant-based vegan leather made from cactus that is typically differentiated by its exceptional softness to the touch while providing excellent performance for a wide range of applications and meeting the most stringent quality and environmental criteria.
Many fashion firms on the market produce beautiful vegan leather goods that are cruelty-free, but the majority of them employ plastic-derived ingredients to get the look. Desserto, a new Mexican firm, is upsetting the status quo by turning nopal cactus leaves into organic, all-natural, cruelty-free leather. Desserto is the first cactus-based leather on the market, and it has the potential to improve the sustainability of the vegan leather industry significantly.
One of the most popular and creative solutions is cactus leather. Many companies, such as Desserto, have successfully made products with this biodegradable material. According to Desserto's website, each of its products takes less than two weeks to degrade. Achieving this is quite the feat, though.
To get the cactus leather to hold its shape, Desserto uses a technique known as hydrogel filling, developed in 1989 by scientists at the University of Hawai'i. It is non-toxic and biodegradable, which is great for sustainability and the environment. But this process is still very complicated.
The company has developed several novel methods of applying this hydrogel to traditional leather. The most common method is using a vacuum pump to suck up the moisture from the cactus.
“The main reason I wanted to do it is it just looks cool,” says Aleksi Suvilehto of Desserto, Finland, the company that manufactures a variety of vegan leather materials. Desserto produces vegan leather from the tough fibres of the cactus.
Suvilehto purchased two varieties of dried cactus at his local hardware store, tore off the thick, tough strands of cactus and ground them up, creating a powder form that can be worked into leather products, such as wallets, handbags, belts, shoes, slippers and even dog bed covers.
Vegan leather-like products from natural materials, such as cactus leather, can even be recycled. “If it's straightforward to recycle, there's no reason not to do it,” says Suvilehto. He says he recently recycled 20 percent of Desserto's production of cactus leather.
Corn Leather by Veja
Veja’s newest shoe releases use faux tanning rather than real animal skins for their footwear. Founded in Brazil in 2007, Veja sells shoes and accessories to eco-conscious consumers and those who can afford a more expensive brand. In 2013, the company produced a vegan line for the first time, inspired by the growing number of women in the market who are looking for cruelty-free alternatives to leather.
The sneakers cost about $115. Veja has been using vegetable-tanned leather since 2006. Chrome-free vegetable-tanned leather is tanned solely with organic ingredients. At Veja, animal-friendly leather is made from a mixture of seeds, roots, flowers, and other natural products. Veja's brand-new vegan corn leather is made from sugarcane and certified organic by Rainforest Alliance.
According to the company, it is 90% vegan. The real surprises are just how long this can be reused, which is seven to 10 times as long as real leather and increases its durability by a whopping 30%. As a result, several other brands have followed the lead of Veja and ventured into this new type of leather.
Take LYON21, for example, which has produced vegan-friendly shoes in pebbled leather since the 1970s. It creates its material using flax, wheat protein, and red mulch, and the colour is from beet juice. In Portuguese, Veja – which means “butcher,” makes eco-friendly leather shoes, bags, and apparel with a cowhide base.
Vegan, low-impact leathers are made from products grown from sugarcane, vegetable oil, coconut, soy, or recycled leather. Some are also created with biodegradable materials, such as kenaf or bamboo. Veja is one of the first companies to make shoes with corn leather. The company finds it to be the most durable and best-tasting alternative to regular leather.
What is it about Veja sneakers that makes them so popular? Maybe it's because Veja was the world's first ecological sneaker brand, paving the path for other well-known sneakers like Allbirds. Its shoes are created from high-quality recycled materials, organic cotton, and leather supplied from sustainable sources.
Veja is a French footwear brand that prides itself on its materials' transparency and ethical standards, labour conditions, and production procedures. Veja is pronounced like the “déjà” in déjà vu. Veja believes in a “positive chain” that includes organic and recyclable materials, natural rubber, and high-quality manufacturing procedures. Veja is ultimately a vegan-friendly brand rather than a 100 percent vegan one because many goods contain leather and suede.
Veja has 41 vegan models on its website at the time of writing, with various colorways spread across 6 or 7 different styles, including throwback pumps and 70s-style runners. Veja has a dedicated vegan section on their website, and several online and high-street stores also provide vegan Veja shoes, so finding them shouldn't be too difficult.
Veja is a Belgian brand known for its iconic skateboard decks, sunglass frames, and vegan leather bags. Veja creates its high-quality leather goods with a little bit of everything—veganizing old, worn scraps, adding new strips for their NeuVine leather product line, and making more exciting blends from coffee and algae—and they're made by hand in Belgium. There's no need to be ashamed if you want a little bit of leather in your clothing, shoes, or bags—Veja makes a variety of cruelty-free leather-like products that you can get today.
Flower Leather by Fleather
Flower leather is made from pineapple leaves. The process involves dissolving pineapple skins in a solution made of milk and lime juice. When you press a leaf between your fingers, you are left with a leather-like material. The process is not ideal and won't be available for many years, but it is an interesting technique likely to expand in the coming years.
Fleather is a new imitation leather manufactured from repurposed flowers that offers a sustainable alternative to plastic-based materials. A former automation engineer has invented vegan leather made from repurposed flowers.
Renewable, organic and infinitely soft, Flower Leather is made out of petals harvested from the Amazon and sourced directly from a farmer in Peru. “She also encourages other women in her community to take up the menial job of harvesting petals, as she knows that the organic materials are helping feed families.
Flower Leather does not involve any slaughtering or the use of any toxic substances, making it a more ethical option compared to other fabrics such as velvet and polyester,” notes the maker. Many flower types are used in making Flower Leather, including roses, lotuses, lilies, hibiscus, marigolds and chrysanthemums. After softening the flower by steaming it, the owner then debones it with a spray-on polymer.
Apple Peel Leather by Veerah
Using human hair, pineapples and fresh coconut shells, Veerah has created a line of vegan leather with a real, natural look and feel. Veerah Leather is available at Veerah's Pop-up Shop located in Beverly Hills.
Veerah is a good example of how the industry has innovated. After being inspired by a photo of dried apples peeling, the founders developed a durable and easy-to-clean alternative to plastic-based vegan leather.
Veerah turned to coconuts, banana leaves, bamboo leaves, and soon other common materials were being substituted. Their company, Veerah Inc., now ships vegan leather to clients throughout the United States.
The company started with one leather-like product, a first-generation vegan product called ‘Apple Peel.' Soon it expanded into clothing, shoes, and accessories. The company now boasts over 100 products, covering handbags, scarves, wallets, earrings, phone cases and much more.
Matt & Nat
The Matt & Nat line uses superfoods in their vegan products to make them healthier and stronger. Their vegan leather-like products are made from soy and carmine (carmine) extract. Matt & Nat's vegan leather-like products include wallets, shoes, and bags. Matt & Nat began as a pure-and-simple vegan fashion brand in Montreal, Canada, in 1995.
In their first ten years, they only created a modest number of handbags, purses, footwear, wallets, and accessories made without animal products. Matt & Nat makes several items from vegan leather, from wallets to key chains to phone cases and laptop sleeves.
These products have a thick, durable texture that can feel much like the real thing. Matt & Nat's palm-based vegan leather makes use of polyester. It is completely recyclable, allowing it to go through less raw material than most other vegan leather companies.
Incorporating the trendy bio-fibre, hyaluronic acid, into faux leather takes years to create, but Matt & Nat has done it. So what exactly is the secret to their amazing faux leather?
Matt & Nat source small quantities of red palm oil from sustainable palm plantations in Indonesia and have reduced its impact with one batch of products. Matt & Nat has an outstanding reputation for sustainability, and it shows in its new vegan product line. The collection is great for adding interest to shoes and bags. The vegan leather is soft and flexible, but it has a nice soft touch.
As shoppers increasingly opt to buy vegan leather, it seems that all the major leather-based manufacturers will start having to reconsider the materials they use to produce their goods.
The transition to more environmentally sustainable materials, including vegan leather, will continue as more people wake up to the leather industry's terrible effects on the environment and animals.
Will you embrace the eco-friendly vegan leather trend, or will you continue purchasing products made from animal hide and skin? Please help me reduce cruelty to animals and protect the environment by choosing vegan leather.
I trust you enjoyed reading the article about the Best Places To Buy Vegan Leather. Would you please stay tuned? There are more blog posts to come very shortly.
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