Plant Based Leather Alternative Handbags
Plant based leather alternatives are getting a luxury upgrade. We investigate the market and share our favourite handbag brands using vegan, eco friendly leather alternatives.
Vegan leather has come a long way since the initial plastic based, synthetic offerings emerged as alternatives to leather. Now you can enjoy the same high performance qualities of an animal-derived leather without harming animals or the planet in the process. Plant based leathers now offer in terms of softness, resistance and waterproof properties the same as animal leathers. Excitingly, these plant based leathers are being given the luxury treatment, with Pinatex handbags appearing in Selfridges recently.
There is also a variety of alternative leathers available to choose from. Piñatex is a revolutionary alternative to traditional and plastic-based leather made from up-cycling by-products from the pineapple industry. It was invented by Dr. Carmen Hijosa and is sustainably sourced, made using a natural waste product and requires no additional environmental resources to produce.
Cacti also have amazing properties, not just as a fabric, but within its environment too. As they grow, they regenerate the soil, are natural carbon sinks, not to mention very resilient plants. This is why cacti can grow in degraded soils where other crops cannot. Only the leaves of the cactus are collected and used to make Desserto leather. This is done to ensure that plants are not killed during the harvest. The mature leaves are then dried using only sunlight so there isn’t any additional energy used. But it doesn’t stop there. Apples, mangos and mushrooms are all being used to create innovative leather alternatives.
Our Favourite Luxury ALternative Leather Handbags
THE MOIRè is a project born in Milan with the aim of creating a brand with the lowest possible environmental impact, while also being ethical and eco-friendly. They use organic cactus, apple leather and recycled materials to create the most exquisite plant-based leather bags. The fabrics research is part of their core identity. New and innovative eco-leathers are obtained from the Nopal Cactus plant or from apple industry waste, both forming key parts of the collections on offer. The effortlessly chic bags are also made with natural materials like Cork or Raffia, recycled materials like Eco Fur or recycled cotton, as well as a Vegan Leather in PU (an eco-alternative to PVC). THE MOIRè donates a percentage of its profit to organisations that are committed to climate change and plants one tree for each bag sold.
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At Mārīcī, each component used in their handbags has been carefully selected based on quality, ethos, and innovation. Their gorgeous accessories are made from Piñatex, the pineapple alternative to traditional leather. This is a durable, lightweight and water-resistant plant-based material that offers the same performance as animal-derived leather. The PETA and B Corp certified material combines environmental and social responsibility with unique retro-modern design aesthetics. For every square meter of Piñatex purchased, they save 8kgs of carbon dioxide and equivalent toxins from being emitted into the atmosphere and bring additional income to local farmers. Not to mention zero harm to animals!
Tyler Ellis’s mission is to merge luxury with sustainability, and they recently launched the ‘AppleVogue’ collection of sleek handbags for ethical fashionistas. This new versatile plant-based material is produced using fibres derived from the industrial processing of apples, where industrial waste from the jam and juice industry is recovered and transformed into a new raw material through a process patented by FRUMAT. This not only reduces waste management costs and relative damages to the environment but also offers a DMF free leather substitute. It helps to lower emissions and the consumption of energy often associated with the entire production chain in the industry.
Mashu is a London based accessories label specialising in little design treasures made by expert artisans in Greece. Inspired by Art Deco interiors and objects along with Cycladic and contemporary architecture, Mashu creates investment pieces that follow the most excellent ethical guidelines. Choosing the right materials is at the forefront of each collection, designer Ioanna Topouzoglou prioritises and sources materials based on specific criteria. High on her list are organic, plant-based, recycled, circular and cruelty-free materials. No wonder Piñatex is Mashu’s material of choice! They also use Desserto, a new and innovative cactus leather material. Cactus leather is soft to the touch, really durable, breathable and can partially biodegrade.
Luxtra is the accessories company founded in 2018 by ‘serial ethical entrepreneur’ Jessica Kruger. They are proud to work with the most innovative and pioneering cruelty-free materials available on the market, and exclusively choose materials that have ecological or plant-based characteristics. In 2020 LUXTRA was proudly certified as a B Corporation – a new type of company that balances purpose with profit. The brand uses Piñatex and AppleSkin™, a bio-based leather alternative. It’s an innovative new material made using waste recovered from the fruit juice industry. Another alternative is derived from Mango and is made in the Netherlands by a company called Fruitleather Rotterdam, which transforms leftover fruit into a durable, leather-like textile.
Disclaimer: The people and models in the images featured are not associated with The Vendeur and do not endorse it or the products shown. This post may contain affiliate links. Prices correct at time of publishing.
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