To feature sustainable and ethical substitutes for animal leather, we’ve gathered together six materials that can match its textural and execution characteristics, from vegan pineapple leather to a leather alternative made of seafood shells.
Leather and fur have long epitomized luxury in the worlds of fashion, accessories, and furniture. But recently, popular opinion has started to shift with growing awareness about the brutality of mass animals rearing and the number of resources consumed and carbon emitted in the process.
In response, major fashion houses, including Gucci, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, and Vivienne Westwood, have decided to ditch fur. 2018 marked the first time the material wasn’t used by a single designer on the London Fashion Week line-up.
The response to leather has been slower, even though it involves a slew of chemicals such as formaldehyde, cyanide, and chromium in the process of tanning and dyeing, which can be hazardous to both people and the environment.
According to a survey by the market research company Morning Consult, more than a third of people in the UK and 23 percent of people in the US think that leather is an inappropriate material to use in clothing.
But so far, most luxury brands, such as Chanel, Prada, and Versace, have only chosen to ban leather derived from individual exotic animals such as crocodiles, snakes, and kangaroos.
That’s why a group of young, independent designers and material research startups are hoping to fast track the move away from animal leather. They will develop convincing alternatives that don’t resort to common polluting, petroleum-based plastics such as polyurethane (PU) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Below, we’ve rounded up five of these novel materials, hoping to give the leather the boot.
- Piñatex by Ananas Anam
- Tômtex by Uyen Tran
- Palm leather by Tjeerd Veenhoven
- Mylo by Bolt Threads
- Lino Leather by Don Kwaning