- A proposal developed by two businesspeople from Mexico makes use of cacti to produce vegan leather.
- There is no need for irrigation systems because cacti can thrive in the desert, which considerably reduces the consumption of natural resources.
- Boots, coats, accessories—pretty much anything that would need raw hide leather—can be made from the Desserto cactus leather.
Polyvinylchloride (PVC) apparel has a terrible reputation whether you call it faux leather, vinyl, or pleather because it first appeared on the market in the 1960s. But at some point, the conversation switched to leathers that are vegan, sustainable, and environmentally friendly and we stopped viewing leather substitutes as cheap knockoffs.
That shift occurred in 2016, when weekly searches for “vegan leather” started to outpace comparable searches for “pleather” or “faux leather,” according to Google Trends data. Since then, material scientists, engineers, and fashion designers have been working feverishly to develop the next great leather substitute, using anything from grass to recycled plastic bottles to wine-based leather.
Is leather from cacti real?
The unquestionable necessity to go green is being handled in the fashion industry with distinctive style. Desserto, a textile company located in Mexico that creates a velvety, waterproof vegan leather replacement completely from Nopal Cactus, is one of the most interesting newcomers to the market. T.A. Walsh penned the article.
The unquestionable necessity to go green is being handled in the fashion industry with distinctive style. Sustainable materials are becoming increasingly popular, from vegan leather created from recycled pineapple harvests to heels that turn reclaimed cork into stylish footwear.
Desserto, a textile company located in Mexico that creates a velvety, waterproof vegan leather replacement completely from Nopal Cactus, is one of the most interesting newcomers to the market. Together, designers Marte Czarez and Adrin Lpez Velarde created a vegan leather that is both high-quality and versatile by combining their expertise in the fashion, automotive, and furniture industries.
Desserto’s founders had a long experience of dealing with leather, and given its severe environmental impact and the cruelty involved in breeding cows for their hides, they grew deeply concerned about it. They made the decision to develop a premium vegan leather that is free of all the hazardous baggage since they have a keen awareness of the requirements of luxury companies.
The leaves of the Nopal cactus plant, which may be picked without harming the plant, are used to make cactus leather. Desserto raised a variety of native plants that are natural to the area and require very little water to grow.
All of Desserto’s cactus plants are raised on a ranch owned by Velarde and Czarez in the Mexican state of Zacatecas. They take care to maintain the plant’s health and life by harvesting materials leaves from their adult cactuses every six to eight months. This ranch uses no irrigation because it is committed to long-term health rather than maximizing resource extraction. The cactus can be cultivated in Zacatecas with only rainwater and naturally occurring earth minerals.
After being gathered, the water-saving, CO2 absorbing raw material is processed without the use of any harmful chemicals to produce high-quality, convincing vegan leather. The resulting impermeable, strong, and aesthetically beautiful biodegradable cactus leather is silky to the touch.
the first organic substance derived from the nopal cactus, or “Highly sustainable is the prickly pear cactus. The fabled capacity of the nopal plant to take up carbon dioxide. It needs very little water to develop, just as many other desert plants. Their cactus requires only 200 liters of water as opposed to the usual plant’s 1,000 liters, which is required to generate 1 kilogram of dry material.
Additionally, the food business receives 50% of the harvested leaves from Desserto. This indicates that a single crop yields two goods. This multifunctional advantage of cactus leather is significant because a projected worldwide food crisis is one of the most important climate change-related worries.
While all vegan leathers are free from animal testing and thus a vast improvement over conventional leather, the environmental advantages of cactus leather are far greater.
Some traditional leather businesses attempt to claim that they use a “that would otherwise be thrown away. Although there is some truth to that, the majority of leather is treated with chromium, a highly toxic substance that seriously harms the environment. Without harmful chemicals that leak into water systems, cactus leather is made naturally. The well-known fact that raising cows significantly increases the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is fully eliminated by cactus leather.
You might be asking what can be done with cactus leather now that we know it is ethically sourced, environmentally friendly, and completely cruelty-free. The short answer is that traditional quality leather can be used for just about everything.
As well as the inside of cars and upscale furniture, cactus leather has also been utilized to create cute handbags, vegan leather shoes, and faux leather coats. Desserto and House of Fluff have teamed up to create leather jackets that are as durable as nails. In the world of footwear, CLAE has introduced the original Cactus leather sneaker in a distinguishing shade of green.
Cactus leather’s durability
Some people might find the thought of a bag made of cactus a bit absurd, but two entrepreneurs, Marte Czarez and Adrin Lpez Velarde, have developed and successfully shown their vegan leather material at the International Leather Fair Lineapelle 2019. Those in attendance at the exhibition last month in Milan, Italy, were interested in the cactus-made substitute for animal leather. The high resistant vegan cactus leather, known as Desserto, has the kind of blueprint that will appeal to the fashion, interior design, and automotive industries.
Getting To Know The Cruelty-free and Cost-competitive Leather
It took Mexican researchers Adrin Lpez Velarde and Marte Czarez two years of work and research with the aid of technologies and inventions before they were ready to showcase a usable product at the Milan tradeshow. The flexibility, adaptability, and breathability of cactus leather, which has a lifespan of about 10 years, are similar to those of leather made from animals or synthetic materials. Earth-friendly qualities such being partially biodegradable and lacking hazardous chemicals, phthalates, and PVC round out the features.
The material was created and manufactured to fulfill the most exacting standards from the Aeronautic to the Fashion industries. It is also cruelty-free and reasonably priced. The biggest challenge we have faced is figuring out how to make our materials accessible for small and medium-sized businesses because sometimes minimum purchase quantities are a barrier for them, the creators of the sustainable alternative told FashionUnited (UK) when asked about the difficulties they faced producing the product. Because of this, we constantly strive to maintain an inventory so customers can purchase items in modest amounts. We are also in contact with possible suppliers that could make our supplies accessible to everyone.
Regarding the advantages that cactus leather offers, Velarde and Czarez told FashionUnited (UK): “The advantages for the environment that our materials can have if incorporated into major production lines of the different industries mentioned before may result in a reduction of 32 to 42 percent in plastic waste, depending on the version of our materials that are incorporated, and a reduction of about 20 percent in water consumption.
The garment sector alone currently uses a staggering amount of volume—nearly 79 billion cubic meters—enough to fill approximately 32 million Olympic-size swimming pools. The value of the additional 39 billion cubic meters predicted to be used annually by 2030 is estimated to be worth 32 billion euros to the global economy. If the fashion sector can develop ways to stop water use from rising further, this could be advantageous for the global economy.
It appears that Velarde and Czarez’s determination to start Desserto at a time when the fashion industry is open to having a conversation may have something to do with their determination to be the company that does things a little differently as end users continue to demand that their products be made of environmentally friendly materials.
Can cacti be made into leather?
The market for plant-based leather substitutes is expanding, and designers are already using coconuts, pineapples, and olives to create fabrics that are environmentally friendly. A vegan jacket made of pineapple leather was shown by high-end retailer H&M earlier this year, and a range of leather shoes made of olive leaves was introduced by German footwear firm Thies. Locally based Malai business creates leather and accessories from coconuts!
The market for cruelty-free substitutes will continue to expand as people become more conscious of the negative consequences of the leather industry on the environment and animals. By employing plants to generate leather-like materials, a plethora of firms are attempting to make vegan leather as environmentally friendly as possible. Cactus has been used by two Mexican entrepreneurs to create a tough vegan leather that may eventually replace animal leather.
Virtually all vegan leather up until recently was created using ingredients derived from plastic. But over the past few years, inventive people have found a variety of techniques to create vegan leather from various materials, such as flowers, cactus leaves, and pineapples. We’ve gathered some of the most intriguing plant-based leathers on the market to commemorate how far the vegan leather business has come since the days of traditional leather.
Unbelievably, all vegan leather is derived from plants; nevertheless, none of them are yet totally biodegradable. This is so because each substance is either formed from a blend of plants and polyurethane, or it is made from plants and has a resin coating on it. Although a few companies already manufacture entirely compostable sneakers, compostable vegan leather shoes have yet to be invented. The good news is that most companies are attempting to make their individual vegan leathers better in order to make their shoes biodegradable.
Whether it is plant-based or entirely synthetic, vegan leather almost always has less of an impact than leather made from animals. Not only does vegan leather not involve any animals, but the breeding, growing, and killing of animals as well as the tanning process have significant negative effects on the environment. Large amounts of land, water, and feed are needed to raise animals (usually cows) for leather, and the animals release methane into the atmosphere. Additionally, the excrement from cattle ranches and factory farms pollutes the local waterways, soil, and air, posing a health risk to those who live nearby.
The company uses a blend of polyurethane and bio-oil to create their vegan leather. The bio-oil comes from cereal grains that were cultivated carbon-neutrally and organically in northern Europe. The company recently launched a new product using viscose manufactured from eucalyptus bark as part of its effort to transition away from using polyurethane to make its vegan leather.
According to Green, who claims to have met with representatives from all the “key vegan leather suppliers, all other vegan leathers made from plants also contain polyurethane in their composition, typically in the form of finishing or as the backing material. It is a necessary part of the manufacture.
Fortunately, Green believes that vegan leather that is completely biodegradable falls short. “Although the technology to completely eliminate polyurethane is not yet available, he believes it won’t be long before it is. Organic vegan dessert leather created from nopal cactus leaves “Soft, partially biodegradable, and strong enough to be utilized in the construction of furniture and the interiors of automobiles as well as fashion accessories like wallets, purses, and shoes.
Recently, Adrian Lopez Velarde and Marte Cazarez unveiled Dessert, a first-of-its-kind organic leather created exclusively from nopal or prickly-pear cactus, as a cruelty-free substitute for animal leather. Instead of creating and marketing their own products, they intend to offer Desserto fabric to other designers and clothing companies. The nopal cactus is a low-impact crop that spreads widely throughout Mexico without using any water.
Opuntia cactus, often known as nopal, is the source of cactus leather, a sustainable leather substitute that was created in Mexico. Desserto is a highly sustainable vegan leather created from cactus that is known for being incredibly soft to the touch. It also performs admirably for a wide range of uses and complies with the strictest quality and environmental standards. This vegan leather was created by two Mexicans who previously worked in the fashion and automotive industries, where they noticed significant environmental impacts in both fields. The vegan leather aims to provide a sustainable and cruelty-free alternative without toxic chemicals, phthalates, or PVC.
Production of Vegan Leather
Leather is a component of a thriving $80 billion business and is one of the most traded items in the world. Cacti have a lifelike appearance that makes it impossible to tell that Adrin Lpez Velarde and Marte Czarez’s vegan leather is manufactured from this arid plant. They gave their cactus-based vegan leather the name Desserto and produced it on a plantation in the Mexican state of Zacatecas using cacti that were cultivated there. The cactus’ tough, thick skin is well renowned for being the ideal texture to mimic animal leather.
“This plant doesn’t require any water to thrive, and there is plenty of it throughout the Mexican Republic, therefore the idea to use it as a raw material was born. Additionally, it is critical to rely on a consistent, ample supply of raw materials in order to be able to utilize this material into a variety of businesses. We now grow nopals on 2 hectares, with 40 hectares of more space available. We have a monthly production capacity of 500,000 linear meters.
The Zacatecas state in Mexico is home to the cactus plants, and the dessert farm is an illustration of how innovation may be developed sustainably. Every 68 months or so, just the adult leaves of the plant are chosen and harvested there in accordance with the cactus cycle. As the cactus grow healthily with rainwater and the local minerals, no irrigation systems are necessary.
Prickly Pear Cactus leaves are used to make desserts. A mature cactus plant’s leaves are harvested, cleaned, and crushed before being dried in the sun for three days until the necessary humidity levels are reached. Either the plant’s fresh, young leaves or its older leaves are used in the production of cactus leather. Then, it can be naturally coloured utilizing techniques created by Adriano Di Marti, Lpez Velarde, and Czarez’s business. This results in vegan leather that is organically certified and durable enough to withstand frequent use for almost ten years.
Following processing and mixing with non-toxic chemicals, the organic raw material is then formed into any texture and hue. There are no pesticides or herbicides utilized at the ranch because it is entirely organic. All of the organic cactus material that isn’t used is exported and sold to the food sector on a national level.
Properties of Vegan Leather
Additionally, it is supple, breathable, and strong, making it a great alternative to leather made from animals or synthetic materials. The fabric is smooth to the touch and feels very much like genuine leather. In comparison to other leather substitutes, the product has a lower carbon footprint and is also more sustainable. In addition, it is:
- less reliant on water
- without phthalates
- free of harmful substances
The vegan leather from the desserto cactus meets all technical standards set by the fashion, leather goods, furniture, and even the automotive industries. It is pliable, permeable, and stain-free. The flexibility, adaptability, and breathability of cactus leather, which has an approximate ten-year lifespan, are comparable to those of leather made from animals or synthetic materials. Earth-friendly qualities such being partially biodegradable and lacking hazardous chemicals, phthalates, and PVC round out the features.
Uses of Plant Leather
In addition to being natural and free of cruelty, the material also satisfies the requirements of numerous industries and can be used in:
- Leather products
In terms of cost, vegan leather is comparable to genuine leather. The company has so far produced clothing, shoes, handbags, and even car seats. Cactus leather doesn’t include any plastic, which is another drawback of synthetic leather, and is largely biodegradable, which is good news for the environment. This provides a genuine, environmentally friendly substitute for animal leather.