Today, we are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of fashion, and the demand for eco-friendly, sustainable, and cruelty-free alternatives to animal-derived materials is on the rise. The area where this trend is particularly evident is the creation of vegan leather and overall leather alternatives. We are all aware that traditional material has long been a staple in the fashion industry, however, the production of conventional leather involves the use of toxic chemicals. In addition to this, it contributes to water pollution, deforestation, and greenhouse gas emissions. The good thing is, there are vegan leather alternatives that are stylish and sustainable. Keep on reading to learn more about eco-friendly and fashionable solutions, and how the rise of vegan leather alternatives is going to make our lives better.
Which are the most popular alternatives?
The first thing we are going to talk about is the most popular alternatives to conventional leather. The most popular alternatives include PU or synthetic leather. This material is completely made of plastic, and it does not involve any use of animal products. There are a lot of advantages that come with this material including being more durable, more affordable, and far easier to clean.
The PU material can be produced in a variety of textures and colors, and this makes it a versatile material for fashion brands and designers. As explained by Asif Ali Gohar, every brand that wants to collaborate with high-end fashion designers wants to know about their background and ability to use sustainable materials instead of conventional leather. This is where vegan alternatives come into play. When brands and designers focus on solutions, they can offer better products for the consumers, and by that be inclusive and interested in the preferences of their customers. When you learn more about vegan leather and other alternatives, you will see that they are beneficial for everyone, including ourselves, and our planet, and we can also save the animals.
Nevertheless, there are disadvantages that come with every material and production process. When we create plastic, we ultimately end up contributing to the growing problem of plastic waste in oceans and landfill. The production process results in pollution, and PU leather is not biodegradable. Because of that, we have to explore other options because we don’t want to create any additional problems when we are trying to solve one.
Another option that many brands and designers go with is cork leather. Cork is made from the bark of the cork trees which is a sustainable and renewable source. You should know that the trees are not getting cut down during the harvesting process and the bark regenerates over time. The trees can be harvested multiple times throughout their lifespan. Experts suggest that these trees can live up to two centuries and they can be harvested dozens of times during their lifespan.
In addition to this, these trees absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which makes them a great tool in fighting climate change. When we compare conventional leather with the cork one, we can notice that the cork product is water resistant, hypoallergenic, and lightweight. In addition to all of these, this type of leather has a unique texture and appearance and it can easily be set apart from other materials.
Apple leather is a relatively new alternative and it is getting more and more popular by the day. It is made from the cores and the peels of apples and they are a byproduct of the juicing industry. The waste is cleaned, ground into powder, and then mixed with a binding agent to create a leather-like material. This type of leather is extremely popular, and it is better than the conventional material because it is biodegradable, compostable, and free from any other types of toxic chemicals. This material also has a unique texture and appearance, and you can easily know this when someone is using a product made with apple leather. The technology is still relatively new, it is not widely available, so we are still not sure of the overall potential that this product has. The material can be used to create a variety of products including clothing, shoes, and accessories.
What should you know before investing in these products?
As you already know, the alternatives that we talked about are not the only options you have when choosing vegan leather. You can opt for a lot of different synthetic materials, or you can use plant-based products including leather made of different types of tree leaves, pineapple leaves, mushrooms, and other biodegradable products that we already know and use.
Before choosing to switch to these alternatives, you should know that every single product in the world comes with positive and negative sides. Just like conventional leather has its own advantages and drawbacks, you should know that every alternative comes with good and bad sides. Some of the alternatives have not been fully explored yet, so we don’t know their full potential. Our technology is advancing, but we still need to see a rise in technological solutions to be able to explore alternative solutions much deeper.
You should know that all of these solutions are biodegradable, all of them are eco-friendly, and all of them are far better for the environment. When we switch to any of these alternatives, we will be able to stop animal cruelty, and we will stop exporting animals for their skin. You should know that animals that are kept just for skin harvesting are kept in extremely inhumane and cruel conditions, so we should all do our part to prevent this from happening any further.
Most of the alternatives come in a variety of colors, patterns, and designs, so, when it comes to fashion, you will not have to give up on any of your favorite hues or designs. Most of them are water and fire-resistant, making them with the same or even better properties compared to conventional animal skin. The only thing that you will notice is that you can purchase these products without breaking the bank, you will be investing in eco-friendly and animal-friendly solutions, and you will be part of the solution instead of the problems. The best thing you can do right now is to check out the companies and designers that specialize in vegan leather and see what they have to offer depending on your personal preferences.