Exploring Sustainable Opportunities in Leather Industry - Sustainable Solutions for a New Economy

Vegan Leather

Cactus the New Trend

Hands up, who’d choose a plant-based leather than an animal-based leather? Woah! the number tends to be huge and for that matter - Why not! When it comes to sustainability people would ardently love to align their spending with their values.

What is Vegan leather anyway?

Well! it is an alternative to leather that "looks" like traditional leather but does not use animal products at all. Naturally, our pulse would increase on hearing about animal slaughter for vanity and status reaching our wardrobes, isn’t it?

While many brands use vegan leather goods which is animal-free but most of them use plastic - derived materials to achieve its look. Now, each of us is going to live long to tell the tale of miserable plastic pollution caused by us which in all likelihood will affect generations to come vastly. Sigh!

At a point where the world is at a critical moment, we can do our bit by being judicious about the environment and the wildlife. And what better than alleviating the horrors of factory farming and slaughters by opting for a more eco - friendly fabric: Cactus Leather (The cactus is known for its rugged, thick skin which makes it the perfect texture to simulate animal leather).

On learning about the increased plastic pollution crisis, the two Mexican innovators were fascinated by the Nopal cactus because of its abundant growth throughout Mexico and the least to no water required to grow. After two years of doing research and development, they finally figured out how to turn nopal cactus leaves into cactus-based leather. It is amazing to know that vegan leather reduces plastic pollution by 30% - 40%.

Cactus-based leather is :

  • Organic

  • Breathable

  • Durable For 10 Years

  • Cruelty-Free

  • Lower Carbon Foot-Print Than Other Leather Alternatives

  • Less-Water Intensive

  • Free From Toxic Chemicals

  • Free From Plastic or PVC

Globally, the meat-industry accounts for 15% – 18% of all human-created greenhouse gases emitted each year. To raise animals for leather huge amounts of land, water, feed is a prerequisite. After the animals are slaughtered, their skin is treated with tanning agents including formaldehyde, cyanide, and chromium, etc. When the remaining toxic water is disposed of, it can wreak negative impacts on aquatic ecosystems and human health. The chemicals that are used to tan leather can take forever to biodegrade.

The material feels like animal-based leather and trust us, there is no compromise on its functionality. The companies are making use of it in furniture, cars, leather accessories, and clothing. Also, water consumption is lowered to 20% when incorporated by companies. As is predicted, the worth of the vegan leather industry is going to increase by $85 billion by 2025. Wow, these are huge numbers to live by.

Now to think, don't these pivotal factors entice you? Wouldn’t you consider making it a replacement for animal and synthetic leather? Wouldn’t you consider saving the environment?

Brands Selling Vegan

Bringing forth a sustainable fashion with organic vegan leather made from cactus, BEEJ, is amongst the first few brands globally and the first Indian brand to design with Desserto, a Mexican brand (bringing in vegan leather fabric from cactus plants). Beej is working with Nykaa boutique, Tata Indi - luxe, Brown living and is in talks with other companies for its distribution network globally. CLAE, a footwear brand rooted in Los Angeles makes these handcrafted refined silhouettes since its inception and is now committed to making sneakers out of cactus leather. MIOMOJO, an Italian label has added bags and handbags out of nopal cactus leather to its product range. While it is not stated of its collaboration with top – tier fashion brands, the news is anticipated to be out soon. In a few years, Desserto will be one of the main suppliers of sustainable materials to the fashion and automotive industries.

The environmental problems are already in a rage. Let us make our commitment to sustainability by bringing into use this custom made, eco-friendly fabric, and join the growing movement towards compassion.

Because Hey!

“Cactus is green and so is the Future”

Author : Anubha Choudhary

Co-Author : Adib Hassan, Shubhra, Aman Gupta, Nikita Garg

Reader's Take: Asmeet Kaur Chhabra, Owner of कच्चा टांका

"Leather is a crucial part of fashion industry. Leather garments(leather jackets, tops, trousers, skirts) leather applique,leather embroidery, leather accessories etc. adds the glamour to the monotonous lives. But the year 2020 has played a huge role in shifting the IndianConsumers from fast fashion to the sustainable brands. Indian consumers have become more concerned about the environment and the planet. People are turning Vegan.Which in result will push the manufacturers to look for eco friendly, vegan leather and the cactus leather is the answer. Soon many brands from India,specially the premium ones ( willingly or unwillingly)need to opt for cactus leather".