What is Vegan Leather? From PVC to Pineapple.

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What is Vegan Leather?

Vegan leather contains absolutely no animalistic products, thus harming no animals in the production chain and earning the often associated term ‘cruelty-free’.

To choose vegan leather is also choosing to be aware of the origin and content of your cloth. The methods related to the production of a bag or a pair of shoes, does have considerable consequences for the globe as well as the welfare of both animal and man. Some methods are far worse than others which makes your choice of leather an important one.

If you desire your leather to be sustainable and cruelty-free, vegan leather might just be what you’re looking for. The area is still the subject of a lot of experimentation and new kinds of vegan leather continue to see the light of day. Below some of the most popular ones are on display.

What is vegan leather?

Pinatex – Pineapple leafs is up and coming

The ‘pineapple revolution’ defines the newest trend within the field of vegan leather. The material is non-woven textile, made of delicate cellulose fibres within the pineapple leafs. Currently the leafs are perceived as a biproduct which is why approximately 40.000 kilotons a year are being burned or just left as waste. Instead of being kindle it now has a future in the vegan leather production.

Previously the same pineapple fibres have been woven into fabric, but development and innovation made the production of leather that can be coloured, stretched, and refined in many different ways possible. That has benefitted the industry with the possible use of pineapple leafs non only in the production of cloth but also items of a bit tougher nature as shoes, bags, and furniture. Around 480 leafs go into the production of one square metre of pineapple leather. The official name of pineapple leather is Pinatex, which is patented by the company Ananas-anam.

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(Pineapple shoes by Lendemain Organic. View them here.)

What is vegan leather?

Micronappa and -suede – easy to care about

Micronappa and -suede contain ultradelicate polyester fibres making both an excellent alternative to their animalistic counterparts: Nappa (as opposed to micronappa) is an animal-based kind of leather made from newborn calves, lambs, or kids and suede (as opposed ot microsuede) is made from the inner part of animal skin which is softer than the outer. Micronappa and microsuede can be produced in a variety of ways. It is of vital importance that the production happens in a closed circulation and furthermore it is possible to use recyclable materials in the process. Both synthetic and natural fibres are available in the production of polyester fibres and thus also in that of micronappa and -suede.

So when asking what is vegan leather? When it comes to micronappa and suede it is a cruelty-free material which is also breathable, water resistant and easy to clean with water.
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(Micronappa shoes and Suede shoulder bag by Lendemain Organic. View them here and here.)

What is vegan leather?

Cork for Shoes and Bags

Cork is the bark of the treesort, Cork Oak especially common in Spain and Portugal. The bark is harvested for the first time when the trees are around 25 years of age and every ninth year forth. The trees lifespan are approximately 300 years since they don’t need to be cut down and only the bark is used in the production of Cork. That makes Cork a very sustainable material. 

When the bark enters the production facility it is boiled in water to ease the processing and by that accord no dangerous chemicals is introduced to the process. Next the bark dries off and is cut into paper-thin slices which in example can be glued to cotton making it more durable. Cork is waterproof by nature and doesn’t need protective spray treatment, though a layer of sealants is applied to keep the Cork clean.

What is vegan leather?

PVC – harmful and non-degradable

PVC stands for Polyvinylchlorid and is a vegan material to be treated with caution. Fact is that PVC has been prohibited by law from the production process in certain countries. A prohibition Green Peace among other organisations are working to expand. One of the reasons is that PVC is non-degradable and the plastic components within PVC contains phthalates which are harmful is the production process aswell as to the consumer. So if you think that “sustainable and cruelty-free” always is the answer to what is vegan leather? Think again.

It can seem misleading to call PVC cruelty-free since it can have harmful effects on the water enviroment and as a result also on humans and animals. It is, however, still categorised as cruelty-free. With PVC you avoid supporting the breeding of animals for leather production – and the animal welfare and rights issues derived from it – aswell as impact on the CO2 level and water enviroment.

Health riscs along with the fact that PVC is non-degradable and very hard to recycle make it a far from sustainable vegan alternative. Thus if you’re looking for sustainable vegan leather, PVC is not the right choice. Although,it should be mentioned that vegan bags and wallets made from PVC are very durable and maintain their shape very well. If you do choose PVC products, however, be certain not to throw them away but instead pass them on or recycle.

What is vegan leather?

Mushroom-based leather and wine

MuSkin is a vegan type of leather based on mushrooms. The material is derived from the mushroom cap, to be more exact. The process that follows are quite simular to the one being used for animalistic leather, but only natural and non-chemical methods are in play when tanning MuSkin. MuSkin and suede share certain simularities. MuSkin is easy to shape and process which makes it a great alternative material for the production of, for example, bags. Furthermore the material has a very absorbing trait. It absorbs humidity and releases it slowly which serves as a useful mechanism when applied to for example shoe soles.

A more fun alternative is wine leather. If it makes it as a serious contender in the vegan leather production, we’ll give it a proper introduction!

Vegan leather has loads of possibilities and can be made from a lot of sustainable materials providing hope for a better tomorrow.
Here at Lendemain Organic we wish for such a future and to that aim we only use vegan materials in our fashion production which makes it 100% cruelty-free. We also use lots of ecological materials to minimize the amount of toxic chemicals in the production. And on top of that we exclusively work with brands that focus on sustainability aswell as we only use energy from renewable sources in our production.

Do you also want to be part of creating a greener future? Then start with your closet today.

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