Vegan leather alternatives are becoming readily available to consumers looking for cruelty-free and more sustainable options to animal-derived leather.
One such option that has taken the fashion world by storm is Piñatex — the leather alternative made from pineapple leaves. Not only is this leather-like alternative non-toxic, all-natural, and cruelty-free, it’s also sustainably sourced with a low environmental impact.
From fashion apparel to interior upholstery, the pineapple leather has proven its versatility and is used by countless brands. Hugo Boss recently debuted a new, limited-edition vegan leather shoe line made from the innovative material and uses non-toxic, plant-based dyes to give each shoe their signature color.
If you’re looking for more eco-friendly, vegan leather alternatives, here are four other innovative brands to keep an eye out for!
Innovative Vegan Leather Alternatives
A new startup out of Kerala, India has taken the superfood coconut to a whole new level by creating a vegan leather made from bacterial cellulose sourced from coconut water!
That’s right — the biocomposite material known as Malai was created by designers Zuzana Gombosova and Susmith C. Suseelan and utilizes the wastewater (which would otherwise be dumped back into the soil) sourced from the coconut industry in Southern India. The finished product greatly resembles animal-derived leather, yet is immensely durable (able to last many years) and is highly sustainable (being that you can compost the material if you ever want to discard of it). The vegan leather alternative looks and feels just like the real thing, *plus* it’s made without any harmful dyes.
Muskin, the vegetable leather made from mushrooms, is one of the latest vegan leather alternatives to emerge. Bio-materials company Grade Zero Espace is behind the fungi leather, which is derived from the Phellinus ellipsoideus — a parasitic fungus that grows on dead wood in subtropical forests.
Along with being non-toxic and free of harsh chemicals, Muskin sets itself apart from most other vegan leathers in that it is breathable and limits bacteria proliferation (so with a shoe made out of this material, you can say goodbye to sweaty, stinky feet!). One of the only downfalls to this material is that, unlike Malai, Muskin isn’t waterproof, but eco-wax treatments can be easily used to remedy this!
With multiple layers crafted for breathability and the utmost comfort for the wearer, VEERAH is a shoe brand made from a variety of sustainable products, most notably is their limited edition VEERAH APPEEL line made of bio-based vegan leather material derived from organic apples! Along with apple peel skins, VEERAH shoes features materials made from 100 percent organic cotton, cork leather, vegan calfskin, and recycled plastic bottles.
With layers upon layers of comfort (anti-friction pillow, organic cotton lining, antimicrobial plant-based lining, plant-based memory foam, Italian resin outsole, impact absorbing foam), *and* interchangeable clip-on accessories (such as bows and ankle straps) these heels are an absolute go-to for a long day at work followed by a night out on the town!
Another company to harness the powers of mushrooms, Bolt Threads (the creators behind Microsilk) developed this leather alternative from mycelium cells — the underground root structure of mushrooms. In order to make the incredibly leather-like material, the mycelium cells are placed in beds of corn stalks along with other vital nutrients so that they can grow. In a matter of weeks, billions of cells are able to grow, forming a 3D network, which Bolt Threads then compress in order to make the 2-D material.
Unlike other synthetic leathers, which are often made from polyurethane or PVC, Mylo is a more sustainable option because it’s made of all-organic materials and is completely biodegradable.
Have you tried any of these vegan leather alternatives?
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Photos: Respective Brands