5 Alternatives to Leather That We Love
Unlike what most people think, leather is very rarely a by-product of the meat industry. About one billion animals are killed annually only for their skin, often after encountering a life horrific abuse.
Raising livestock also uses extraordinary amounts of energy, water, food and land. Animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than all transportation systems combined throughout the world.
For these reasons, the leather industry has found itself under increasing scrutiny in recent years while fashion brands have begun searching for greener alternatives.
Artificial leather, also called "faux leather", "vegan leather" or "pleather" was until very recently mainly made from plastic and highly criticized for requiring the use of carcinogenic byproducts such as dioxins, that are toxic to humans and animals alike.
In the last few years, however, great alternatives to leather that are eco-friendly and vegan have started to emerge, catching the attention of numerous brands and designers.
We wanted to explore the best and most sustainable alternatives to leather available today and how fashion brands are making them iconic.
This new innovation turns mushroom roots, or mycel, into a vegan leather referred to as mylo material or MuSkin.
This has only been around since its introduction in 2018 so there are not a lot of products on the market for sale using mylo leather due to it being such a new technology.
Chester Wallace sold a bag made from mylo material for a short period of time as a limited edition bag and Stella McCartney also made an exclusive prototype of her famous “Falabella” for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Mushroom leather is softer and more breathable than traditional leather, yet still waterproof. As for dying, all the prototypes made so far have reflected the natural color of a mushroom.
This is a much more developed leather alternative and first launched in 2015.
Apple leather is formally known as pellemela which is created through dehydrated and powdered apple peels and cores, water, and natural glue. It is now used by many fashion brands with some dedicated apple leather lovers being The Apple Girl, Ashoko Paris, Nemanti, Veerah, or Poétique Paris.
All products made from apple leather are waterproof and remain breathable. Pellemela can be dyed with or without the use of chemicals, but its color at its natural state is commonly a light tan or cream.
In fact, it is the most popular fruit-based leather with over 500 brands using it. This is quite impressive considering it has only been around since 2016.
Piñatex is made from the leaves of pineapples which are usually burned or left behind to rot after pineapples are picked so no additional fertilizer, land, water, or pesticides are used for Piñatex production. This also gives pineapple farmers a new way to earn money off of their crops by giving what used to be waste a new purpose. Piñatex leather can be dyed, but is naturally developed in a white color.