Top fashion brands like Stella McCartney and Adidas are introducing products made from fungus leather in 2021, but fungus isn’t the only alternative leather option out there. Today we share six prominent up and coming leathers sourced from plants, food waste, and food byproduct.
The first comes from Ananas Anam, a British materials company, which came out with their leather alternative in 2013. Their material uses pineapple leaves and combines these fibers with polylactic acid to create a durable, flexible material similar to leather. Additionally, the pineapple leaves are sourced from a plantation in the Philippines where they would otherwise be burned or left to rot.
Our next leather alternative, called Tômtex, comes from Vietnamese designer Uyen Tran and is made of coffee grounds that would otherwise be thrown away and the biopolymer chitin which comes from discarded seafood shells. This ingenious alternative leather looks like the real thing and can even be embossed with prints to make it look like crocodile hide or snakeskin. What a great way to repurpose food waste!
Areca palm leather is similar to pineapple leaf leather but comes from a more brittle plant source. The material is submerged in a softening solution for a few days before it can be weaved in all different types of products like shoes, bags, and even rugs.
Bio-leather from Israeli designer Shahar Livne still comes from animals, but from the parts usually discarded. The material comes from animal fat and bones, otherwise thrown away, to make small swatches of leather. Although it has not yet been scaled up to create entire products, it is an innovative way to use animal byproducts from the meat industry to make more sustainable leather.
Mylo, created by US biotechnology company Bolt Threads, is made from mycelium, the filament structure that connects mushrooms and fungi. To learn more about this water-saving alternative, check out our recent article about it here!
Last but not least, we have Lino Leather which comes from an unusual source: linoleum. This material, which is usually used for flooring, is made up of linseed oil mixed with a filler, such as powdered cork. When applied to a cloth backing, creator Don Kwaning says most people can’t even tell it’s not real leather.
Whether for ethical or environmental reasons, more and more consumers and designers are avoiding animal leather in their products. Fortunately, the multitude of high-quality leather alternatives makes the transition to plant-based clothing easy and stylish!
Image source: Dezeen