Choose not to wear leather for environmental or ethical reasons? It used to be that vegan alternatives to leather were heavily synthetic and had just as much impact on the planet as the real thing.
A new wave of designers and brands are embracing new vegan materials that are as luxe as they are ethical. Here’s our round up of the best guilt-free leather alternatives.
Pineapples: not just delicious, their leaves also make a high performance, all-natural fabric called Pinatex. A byproduct of fruit harvests, no extra land, water or fertilizers are needed to make the cloth, which is bonded rather than woven.
Cork is a sustainable, plentiful material that is tactile to the touch and features a unique, almost marbled-looking finish. Normally associated with homeware, the material is increasingly being found in the fashion industry to create contemporary and sustainable fashion accessories.
For example, vegan accessories brand Matt & Nat use cork to create elegant and sculptural bags. Although not as flexible as other leather alternatives, cork offers a distinctly natural look that will stand out for its sustainable credentials.
Firehose isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about leather alternatives, but our brand to trust Elvis & Kresse makes an entire range of bags and personal accessories out of the stuff, after rescuing the London Fire Brigade’s decommissioned hose.
The super-durable material has a glossy and premium finish, with its own unique look that tells a story of its previous origins too. Even better, 50% of the profits from products including cufflinks and weekend bags are donated to fire-fighting charities.
MuSkin – Made from Mushrooms
An exciting new material innovation, MuSkin is a wonderfully silky leather-like material that is 100% biodegradable. It has a handle similar to a super-soft suede, yet is breathable, naturally water repellent and can be ‘tanned’ using chemical-free processes.
Still in the early stages of development, the material could break through into the mainstream soon.