Desserto – Cactus
Desserto, a Mexican start-up, is a biomaterial company dedicated to creating highly sustainable pure leather. The founders were Adri á n l ó PEZ Velarde and Marte C á zarez. They had previously worked in the furniture, automobile and fashion industries. After witnessing the serious environmental pollution caused by leather, they decided to resign and look for materials to replace leather.
In July 2019, desserto developed a new material that can replace leather with cactus and named it desserto. This kind of cactus leather has the characteristics of soft touch, good elasticity and good air permeability. It can replace almost any animal skin.
The production process is not complicated. First, harvest the mature cactus, clean it, mash it, and dry it in the sun for three days; Secondly, it is ground to powder state through machining; Finally, non-toxic chemicals and biological pigments are added and mixed to obtain textured leather like materials.
Mycoworks – mushroom mycelium
It is also committed to developing new biological materials to replace leather. The difference is that mycoworks chooses to use mycelium.
Mycoworks was founded by Philip Ross and Sophia yah in 2013 and is headquartered in California, USA. MycoWorks pioneered the Fine Mycelium technology, which uses highly controlled pallet based systems in the mycelial cell growth process to create tightly wound and solid three-dimensional structures. In addition, mycelia naturally form a solid foam during growth and compress them to obtain leather like materials.
Reishi is the first natural material manufactured by this technology. Its quality and performance are comparable to the best animal leather, with lower impact on the environment and higher customization freedom.
In the spring of 2021, mycoworks announced the launch of a new product “mushroom bag” in cooperation with Hermes, and then ushered in “an open and hanging life” and won the preference of heavy capital.
So far, mycoworks has experienced six rounds of financing, raising a total of $187 million. The latest round of round C financing was conducted on January 12, 2022, raising US $125 million, led by prime movers lab. The funds raised will be used to start the first comprehensive fine mycelium production plant to meet the growing demand for the company’s materials.
Fruit leather – abandoned mango
Fruit leather, a Dutch innovation company, developed plant leather from discarded mangoes. Its founders were Koen and Hugo, who graduated from dekuning School of design.
Their entrepreneurship originated in Rotterdam, the largest market in the Netherlands. There are a wide range of fruits here, and a large amount of waste food will be produced every day, such as over cooked mangoes, crushed nectarines and so on. Therefore, they collect the waste fruit, remove the seeds and crush it, then cook it, mix it with adhesive, pour it into a large tray, and carry out air drying, coloring, embossing and other processes to make full plain leather. After many experiments, they finally found that mango peel was the most suitable material.
In March 2020, fruitleather cooperated with London fashion brand luxtra to launch the first mango pure leather bag.
In today’s world, there is an increasing shortage of resources. However, human beings all over the world throw away 1.3 billion tons of food every year and kill more than 1 billion animals for leather production. Koen and Hugo, the founders, believe that “the combination of fruit and leather can fundamentally change the world polluted by animal leather”.
Beyond leather materials – Apple waste
Beyond leather, founded in 2016 in Copenhagen, Denmark, uses the waste after apple juice to create plant leather – leap.
Leap consists of Apple waste mixture, finishing and textile backing. It is made by mixing Apple waste with natural rubber, coating it on the textile backing woven by organic cotton and wood fiber, and finally coating it with a layer derived from a small amount of fossil fuel to form a three-layer structure to ensure durability and sustainability.
It is estimated that 3million tons of Apple waste will be produced in the world every year. Beyond leather produces plant leather based on the surplus apple residue from the production of apple pulp, fruit wine and other products. The material is close to animal leather in appearance and feel, and can be naturally degraded. It can reduce environmental pollution and food waste, and provide you with a more fashionable and healthy leather choice.
Beyond leather means surpassing leather. The founders Hannah and Mikael believe that the future of leather will be based on plants.
At present, leap is made of 80% bio based components. It is expected to have 99% bio based coatings by 2023 and 100% biodegradable without leaving traces by 2024.
Ananas ANAM – Pineapple leaves
Ananas ANAM was founded in London in 2013 and created plant leather piatex with Pineapple leaves as raw materials. The founder is Dr. Carmen hijosa. She has many years of animal leather product design background and once served as an industry consultant. Carmen visited the Philippines in the 1990s and was shocked by the impact of large-scale leather production and chemical tanning on the environment. At the same time, she noticed that the fiber structure of Pineapple leaves was very suitable for making leather substitutes.
Carmen then left the traditional leather manufacturing industry and spent seven years studying textiles. In 2014, Carmen, 62, received a doctorate in textile from the Royal Academy of Arts in London and developed pineapple leaf fiber into a patented product piatex.
Piatex does not contain harmful chemicals or animal products. It is soft, firm, breathable, light and flexible. It is also easy to print and dye. It can be easily cut, sewn, embossed and embroidered to meet the design finishes of shoes, bags, cars and so on.
There are seven major processes to make piatex: collecting Pineapple leaves into bundles – extracting long fibers with semi-automatic machine – washing and drying – purifying and removing impurities to form fluffy materials – adding corn based polylactic acid (PLA) to make piafelt – finishing – coloring, waterproof, resin finish coating, etc.
At present, piatex has been used by more than 1000 brands in more than 80 countries / regions, including hugo boss, H & M and Hilton Bankside. Carmen’s ultimate vision is to build a more sustainable future that connects people, the environment and the economy.
Under the trend of a community with a shared future for mankind, sustainable development has become the consensus of people all over the world. People’s awareness of environmental protection is gradually enhanced, and plant leather may become a more favored choice for consumers. According to the prediction of infinite global analysts, the market scale of vegetable leather will reach US $89.6 billion in 2025, and the Asian market will become the leader of the industry