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  • Karl

Alternative Materials

Updated: Mar 27, 2019

Hi!


Recently at Authenticae we have been considering how other companies are confronting various arguments over leather head on. Some companies are coming up with leather substitutes, whilst others are looking at the ways in which their tanneries can be more environmentally friendly, thus, creating a better way of sustaining the leather industry.

Image by Pinatex 2018. See: https://www.ananas-anam.com/As

As a company we know how important it is to understand the implications of waste.

A company’s environmental footprint and ecological ethos, if reviewed and improved can make a hugely positive impact. It’s not my job here to sway you for or against leather - only to provide you with some of the information that I’ve found whilst researching this topic.


First of all, here are some facts and figures (I’ll get them out of the way before you’re distracted by the images or doing your own research).


  • 10-45% of the starting hide/skin is unused and often destined for landfill

  • It is possible to use 90% less water in leather production

  • It is possible to have a 70% reduction in air emissions

  • You can remove many toxic chemicals from your leather

  • Tanneries invest in skins that are by-products of the meat industry


The first three of these facts come from E-leather who are pioneering within the leather industry as they use 50% recycled and scrap leather, saving it from going to waste. There is currently a lot that other companies can learn from E-leather as they significantly reduce their impact to the environment whilst still championing using a quality product.

So, there are some obvious plant related replacement leathers here, you can see the apple, pineapple and grapes! Yes, alternative materials are pretty cool! Amongst these images you may recognise Zoa; made from cellular stimulation, forming the new collagen into a leather substitute. Corkor is obtained by removing the outer bark of the tree, without cutting it down or harming it. As the bark replenishes, cork will be harvested again. Muskin and Mycoworks are both made from fungi and mycelium which is grown in labs and can be grown to any shape or size!


Personally, one of my favourite leather substitutes is Piñatex,, this may be because of

their beautifully designed website - or it could be this delicious skirt you can see below. Piñatex is made from pineapple leaf fibre and is clearly very versatile. This is one leather substitute that I would really love to get my hands on.. it’s also one that I’d love to see really take off within the stores.

z Image by Pinatex 2018. See: https://www.ananas-anam.com/As

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