The thought of having cow skin or any other animal skin upon my own skin is really disturbing. When people wear non-vegan leather, this is essentially what is happening. The tanning process of leather is toxic for humans as well as the environment.
Thankfully, there are vegan leathers out there. Let’s go through the options together.
Polyvinyl chloride and polyurethane
These are plastics made to look like leather. Polyurethane is slightly more breathable. These are made with toxic byproducts, and personally I don’t like the strong plastic smell they come with. However, even when it comes to real skinned leather, I also want to puke at the smell.
Pineapple Leather (Piñatex)
Made from the fibre of pineapple leaves which are byproducts of the pineapple harvest, pineapple leather is biodegradable, sustainable and environmentally produced. No toxic chemicals are used in the process, unlike leather or PVC/PU imitation leather.
Mushroom Leather (Mu-skin)
This soft leather is made from mushroom caps, and tanned without the use of toxic chemicals. It looks like suede, but is actually softer. It is biodegradable, breathable, and water-repellant. Mu-skin looks quite comfortable.
According to the manufacturer, wineleather is socially responsible, environmentally conscious, and sustainable. Wineleather is produced from grape marc, the material left over after the winemaking process (which includes the grape skins and seeds). The fibres and “vegetal oils” are processed in an environmentally friendly way to make this leather.
This leather is made from the bark of the cork oak tree. Thin sheets derived from the bark are pressed onto a supporting fabric material. Treatment with a water-repellent fabric protection spray makes the cork leather more durable.
Made from sewable slate stone, it looks like a cloth made from stone. It has definitely piqued my interest.
All those used tires and rubber waste out there can be turned into goods such as handbags, boots, backpacks, vests, etc. It is always good when things are recycled.
The kombucha SCOBY can be used to make a leather which is biodegradable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. Although this material shows promise, as of right now, it isn’t durable enough to be consistently used on a large scale. It absorbs moisture from the air and becomes brittle quite easily. Growing the SCOBY takes three to four weeks, which is a considerable amount of time for large-scale production, and then the SCOBY also needs time to be dried.
As you can see, there are delightful alternatives to animal skin leather that will leave you stylish and feeling great too.