Vegan Leather – A Comprehensive Guide

Explore the benefits of vegan leather as an ethical and sustainable alternative to traditional leather. Learn about the different types of vegan leather, its production process and how it compares to traditional leather in terms of durability, cost and environmental impact.
Vegan Leather
Vegan leather

Why choose vegan accessories?

Vegan accessories are items such as vegan clothing, shoes, bags, jewelry and other fashion items that are not made from or÷. containing animal-derived materials. People who choose to buy these products do so for a number of reasons such as being more conscious about the environment, being cruelty free and supporting ethical alternatives to factory farming. 

Why choose vegan leather

Reasons to avoid conventional leather

Vegan leather is a cruelty-free alternative to traditional leather that is made from synthetic materials and natural resources, eliminating the need for animal skins.

It is an environmentally friendly option due to the fact that it does not require as much energy or toxic chemicals to produce compared to traditional leather.

Furthermore, vegan leather does not come from the meat industry, which is one of the largest polluters in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and is considered more ethical due to its lack of contribution to animal exploitation.

About vegan leather

About vegan leather

Faux leather also known as vegan leather is a material that mimics the look and feel of leather without using actual animal hide. It is an alternative to traditional leather which can be used in the manufacture of bags, purses, shoes and sneakers.

It is usually made from synthetic materials such as Polyurethane (PU) or Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and can be textured to look like cowhide, snake skin, crocodile skin or any other fabric made from animal skin.

While PVC and PU are considered more sustainable than regular leather, with less impact on our pollution levels, these fabrics still use toxic chemicals in their production and are not very biodegradable. However, they are cruelty-free, do not support the meat industry and it is reasonable to state that the environmental impact of producing vegan leather is lower than real leather.

Plant based alternatives

New and better alternatives

The latest alternative vegan leather is more eco-friendly and uses various different plants as the fabric base. These new fabrics are significantly more eco-friendly than the original faux leathers that were made from PVC or PU.

Pineapple leather

Piñatex is a vegan leather made from the fiber of pineapple leaves that has taken the fashion industry by storm. Available in both Original and Performance lines, it offers unique textures, colors, and finishes while using a bioplastic derived from corn to create a flexible yet durable material.

Not only does Piñatex require no water, fertilizers, or additional land for its production, but it also reuses something that would traditionally be discarded or burned, and any biomass residue can be used as fertilizer. This makes it one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly vegan leather materials available today.

Cactus leather

Desserto is a revolutionary organic material made from the Nopal cactus, also known as the prickly pear. Developed and produced in Mexico, it is used by many of the world’s top brands like Adidas, H&M and Fossil.

The process of creating leather from this cactus involves harvesting, cleaning and mashing mature leaves, drying them in the sun and grinding them into powder before mixing with a patented formula.

The cactus plant itself is tough and resilient which makes it an excellent choice for vegan leather production; not to mention that it doesn’t need to be irrigated – it grows with rainwater only – making this a much more sustainable alternative to animal or faux leather.

Grape Leather

Grape leather

Vegea grape leather is a revolutionary bio-based material produced in Italy from the processing of waste materials derived from winemaking.

It combines grape skins, plant oils, and natural fibers to create a flexible yet durable material that has been featured in products by iconic brands like Calvin Klein, H&M, Bentley, Diadora, and Serapian.

Not only is it a more sustainable alternative to animal or faux leather but it’s also soft, smooth, and almost feels like leather. However, because polyurethane (PUD) is added to the fabric it can be complicated to recycle and doesn’t degrade entirely.

Mushroom leather

Mylo by Bolt Threads is a revolutionary vegan leather alternative created from the caps of the Phellinus ellipsoideus mushroom.

This innovative material has the potential to replace animal and plastic leather due to its sustainability and biodegradability, its ability to grow in small spaces, its absence of toxic chemicals, its antibacterial properties, and its softness compared to traditional leather.

The mycelium, the vegetative part of a fungus that consists of a network of fine white filaments, is used to create the fabric which uses substantially less water and emits fewer greenhouse gasses than animal leather.

Cork leather

Cork leather is a highly sustainable, versatile, and eco-friendly material. It comes from the bark of the cork tree which is periodically stripped in sections without deforestation and assists with the regeneration process of the bark.

Cork leather is waterproof, lightweight, durable, and recyclable; making it ideal for an infinite variety of products such as wallets, shoes, summer sandals, belts, and bags. It has a unique look and texture.

Natural vegan materials

Other natural materials for accessories 

Natural fiber fabrics such as organic cotton, linen, seaweed, wood, beech tree fibers, hemp, soybeans, and coconut fiber can be used to create sustainable fashion accessories.

Additionally, there is a fabric called Mirum, a plant-based material similar to leather that, unlike some faux leathers, does not contain any plastic or synthetic elements. This material is recyclable and can even be ground up for soil addition.

Vegan purses and bags

Vegan purses and bags

Vegan leather bags are a highly ethical and sustainable choice when it comes to fashion accessories. Every part of the bag – from the covering material and lining to the glue used – are free of animal products, meaning no animals have suffered in their production.

Companies producing vegan bags often choose materials that are as sustainable as possible and make sure their workers receive a fair wage for their work.

Vegan handbags can be split into two categories: those that imitate leather through faux leather, and those that move away from the traditional leather look with canvas, cork, or cotton.

Fabrics for these products are becoming ever more eco-friendly as well as ethical and therefore make a great choice for your next purse or bag.eah

Vegan sneakers

Vegan sneakers

Vegan sneakers are created without animal products, making them a more compassionate and sustainable choice. These shoes are composed of various vegan fabrics and materials such as organic cotton, cork, natural rubber, hemp, water-based inks, and glues. Many new designs are made with the latest plant-based leathers and vegan suedes.

Additionally, some vegan sneakers are made from recycled materials that help divert textile waste from landfills. Companies making vegan shoes typically source organic and Fair Trade cotton, wild Brazilian rubber, and corn-based vegan leather.

Now find a new vegan accessory you will love

If you’re looking for a cruelty-free and sustainable fashion accessory, vegan options are the way to go. From handbags to sneakers, there are so many vegan styles available – no animal products involved!

Whether you’re looking for faux leather, canvas, cork, or other materials, our articles and reviews can help you find the perfect piece that both looks good and makes you feel good. Shop with peace of mind knowing that the production of your items was ethically sourced and kind to animals.

Kristina M.

Kristina M.

Providing shopping recommendations for organic, sustainable, and eco-friendly products.

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