Leather is one of the most popular materials used in the fashion industry for its durability, aesthetic, and traditional use. However, the leather industry can be a controversial topic for many, especially for people who choose a vegan lifestyle. Today, there are many emerging alternatives to leather that are eco friendly, long lasting, and beautiful. Here are some of our favorites!
Leaf leather is made from harvesting leaves from a variety of trees, teak trees in particular. The leaves are soaked, dyed, and arranged together so that they form a large sheet of material to work with. They are coated in a non-toxic film, and are wrapped around materials such as cotton or other natural fiber to create eco friendly accessories that are usable for countless daily activities.
Another leather alternative is composed of the skin of various fruits. Banana, mango, pineapple, and apple fiber are used to create stunning and surprisingly leather-like products. As an added bonus, the use of these fibers reduces food waste and cuts down on biodegradable materials that end up in landfills. These fruit-based leathers provide a great cruelty-free option for replacing traditional leather, and are durable enough to create products such as shoes and bags for everyday use.
Cork leather is made from the bark of cork oaks, which grow naturally around the world, particularly in China, India, and in the Mediterranean region of Europe. When the extraction of the bark is done correctly, it does not damage the tree, and provides benefits such as promoting the regrowth and overall health of the tree. The harvested cork is dried, boiled, and pressed into flattened sheets. It has high elasticity, durability, and has a smooth shiny finish which is similar to leather, and is one of the most eco-friendly vegan leathers that is produced.
Recycled rubber makes a great leather alternative due to its strength and endurance, and is commonly used to make home and lifestyle products ranging from jewelry, bags and accessories, furniture, and much more. In particular, recycled tires offer the benefit of a strong material with many environmental benefits. Tire waste causes environmental issues for many reasons. They cause problems in landfills due to their round shape which takes up space and prevents other materials from decomposing. When they are burned outdoors for disposal, they release thick smoke that contains toxic chemicals. Upcycling tires mitigates the potential issues that disposing of them in landfills causes, and creates beautiful, timeless products as well.
We wish you the best of luck on your journey to greener living! Be sure to look out for more tips in future articles, and feel free to contact us if there is a topic you would be interested to learn about; chances are, people in the Flourish community are looking for the same information, and we’ll give you a shout-out for your participation!