In the fashion world, animal leather is a controversial topic, for obvious reasons - ethical and environmental. At Adeera we're against buying new leather, but we do accept vintage or pre-loved animal leather items because we're still helping to prevent it from rotting in landfill - remember this is one of the biggest issues we're facing today in the fashion industry.
For more information about the many ways to have a sustainable wardrobe, check out this video we posted recently on our YouTube channel.
Anyways, I could go on for hours about the different opinions that exist surrounding this topic, but today I wanted to talk about some really great alternatives to animal leather that we should all be paying more attention to.
I’m going to tell you about two of my favourite kinds of faux leather options: mushroom leather and wine leather.
Did I mention mushrooms and wine are two of my favourite things in life by the way!?
Let’s start with mushroom leather, or Muskin/mylo.
Mushroom leather is developed from the root fibres of mushrooms called mycelium. They are a naturally very strong fibre making them a sound alternative in terms of the fabrication of leather. The fibres are also naturally water resistant, anti-microbial, insulating and breathable - something that cannot be said for animal leather.
Muskin/mylo resembles a suede like texture, so the softer side of a cow hide rather than the more smooth outer layer. Another one of the great benefits is that it can take natural dies so not only are the fibre properties sustainable, but the dying processes can be as well.
Here are two links to some companies using or making mushroom leather that you can check out:
Next is a newer innovation and one of my favourites because of it’s origin… wine leather!
One glass of wine keeps the doctor away, right? Emma and I love a good glass of wine after a long day of work!
Anyways, back to the main topic.
Wine leather was developed in Italy by Gianpiero Tessitor, who originally was an architect. The leather alternative is made from grape skin and seed fibres called grape marc, which are leftover from the production of wine. Tessitor patented the textile as vegea textile and created the company Vegea. It can replicate both cow and reptile leather giving it the potential to take over the whole industry!
Since approximately 7 billion kilos of grape marc are produced each year from the production of 26 billion litres of wine (which we happily consume, am I right ladies), this leather is also reducing the waste from a gorgeous industry ;) From all this grape marc about 3 billion squire meters of wine leather can be produced. Amazing.
Being a new innovation, I was unable to concretely find companies implementing wine leather into their collections as it is still in the growing stages. However even fast fashion brands such as H&M have caught wind of the creation and has awarded their first prize Global Change Award to the creation.
So whatever your opinion on animal leather, there are some really great alternatives coming up that could change the fashion industry for the better, and give us more option when designing with the textile.
Like most things, the introduction of these products will take time to become ‘mainstream’ but the more we use and experiment with them the more prevalent they will become.
Let's support these new materials by sharing the information wherever we can, and by buying products made of these materials!
If you have other favourite leather alternatives, let us know in the comment box below!
Lots of love,