We’ve seen a flood of news concerning vegan-friendly alternatives to leather, and not the plastic variety but novel materials made from cacti, mushrooms, mangos and even grapes. Major fashion brands are getting in on it too, so why the sudden interest in animal-free leather and are there any downsides?
Two start-ups producing animal-free alternatives to leather - Fiquetex and Desserto - have bagged awards this week from the University of Oxford and PETA respectively, with the former using fique plant fibres and the latter using the prickly pear cactus. Vegan leathers made from mushrooms, pineapples and other fruits have been around for some years now, but have until very recently failed to break into the mainstream.
This is despite the findings of a report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) which pointed the finger at fashion as one of the most damaging industries in the world when it comes to the environment. According to UNEP, textile production accounts for 20 per cent of the world’s wastewater and 10 per cent of all carbon emissions. Continue