There’s nothing that gets us more excited than fashion innovation, especially when it comes to innovation in textiles. The advent of vegan leather, for example, excited people, but the first iterations of this material were not always an environmentally-friendly alternative to animal leather. Vegan leathers have traditionally been fabricated from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and Polyurethane—plastics that can cause a threat to the environment during and after its lifespan. But brands are continuing to innovate and as of late, plant-based leathers, derived from pineapple, apples, and other crop waste, have grown increasingly popular as a modern alternative to leather and plastic-based vegan leathers.
While some plant-based leathers still rely on chemical processing that includes Polyurethane to give them a leather-like quality, plant leathers are a significant improvement of those derived from plastic. But what makes a leather “good” or “better” is not so straightforward. A plastic-less textile might mean one that requires more water to develop. There’s no perfect leather solution, but there is merit to these newer, plant-based innovations, and many brands embrace them as a more sustainable alternative.
Our Makoma heels photographed by Andres Burgos