Fashion innovation in textiles is taking the fashion world to better heights. Vegan leather got many fashion enthusiasts who practice conscious living really excited. But the animal leather alternative isn’t always eco-friendly. The vegan leather is made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and Polyurethane. These materials are vegan but deadly for the environment as it is plastic.
Brands are not taking it lying down though. They are continuously looking to innovate and develop leathers that are both vegan and eco-friendly. The new leather to hit the market is the plant based one. This plant-based leather is derived from pineapple, apples, and other crop waste. People are absolutely loving this modern day alternative to leather and plastic-based vegan leathers.
Some makers of this leather still use chemical processing including use of Polyurethane to achieve a leather-like quality, but compared to other alternatives it is a step towards a better future. It is definitely not a perfect solution to leather. This non plastic or less plastic based textile requires more water but it is a sustainable alternative to leather.
Like for instance the grape leather sneakers developed by newcomer Pangaia are zero waste shoes made from grape leather repurposed from the Italian wine industry’s waste. Pangaia explains in the brand’s description that every year the wine industry globally produces 26 billion liters of wine generating 6.5 billion liters of waste. This waste consisting of grape stalks, skins, and seeds can successfully be turned into an environmentally-friendly leather alternative.
Allbirds is another such footwear making company taking a step forward in the category. The brand has invested in Natural Fiber Welding, a textile innovation company which works on Mirum technology making a leather alternative without utilizing Polyurethane or other petrochemicals. Many brands are looking to reinvent the fashion industry by making sustainable products. The only way for sustainable fashion is up.