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Vegan Leather Alternatives


55% of fashion companies aim to source at least half of their products with sustainable materials by 2025. 
Below are some great sustainable and environmentally friendly Vegan Leather Alternatives to animal leather to consider for your next collection. 

Is your brand on par to compete? Good news is, you won’t need to sacrifice style for sustainability.

Pineapple Leather

Nike– Pineapple Leather Air Max 90 Sneakers

Pineapple leather is used by many designer brands in the fashion industry. It is made from the natural fibers from the pineapple leaf, and a combination of plastic and resin. No animal by-products are used in it’s production. In fact, It takes approximately 480 pineapple leaves to produce 1 square meter of pineapple leather, which is not much considering the abundance of pineapple leaves leftover after the fruits are picked. 

Pineapple leather is heat resistant, water resistant, flexible, soft, durable, and breathable – making it a great alternative to animal leather.

Pineapple leather is less expensive than some natural leather, while being a little more expensive than PU, or polyurethane leather (plastic). For example, a 20 square foot, high-quality vegetable tanned cowhide might cost around $150, while the same quantity of PU would cost around $12, and the same quantity of pineapple leather would cost around $65.

Pineapple leather is used for a variety of applications including handbags, shoes, boots, clothing, and personal accessories. It can also be used in the production of automobile and furniture upholstery.

Brands using pineapple leather:
  • Nike – Using pineapple leather on sneakers including Air Force I.
  • H&M – Headquartered in Sweden, H&M has rolled out sustainable pieces using Pineapple leather.
  • Hugo Boss – a German luxury fashion house selling clothing, accessories, footwear and fragrances
  • Paul Smith – British brand revolutionizing men’s luxury clothing.
  • Sezane – A French company offering luxury qual­ity at a fair & access­ible price.

Cactus Leather

Karl Lagerfeld x Amber Valletta – Cactus Leather Handbag

Cactus leather is another great Vegan Leather Alternative. It is organic, partially biodegradable, soft, durable, and can be used to make clothing, accessories, furniture, and even car interiors.

Earlier this year, Karl Lagerfeld x Amber Valletta launched a collection of handbags using Desserto cactus leather.

The collection features a sustainable cactus leather version of the iconic K/Kushion bag in a pleated design, along with a wallet and card holder made of the same cactus leather, priced between $58 and $470, which is comparable to the rest of the leather handbag collection. A second Lagerfeld x Amber Valletta collection with ready-to-wear clothing will debut for spring 2022.  

Mushroom Leather

Nat 2 Sustainable Mushroom Leather Sneakers
nat-2 x Zvnder vegan sneaker line – fungi leather sneakers

In 2012, product designers Philip Ross and Jonas Edvard began experimenting with homeware products made from mycelium, the vegetative part of a fungus.

“Mycelium can be used to make batteries, spaceships, and fashion. What I am trying to say is that the use of mycelium is scarily endless,” Ross said at the time.

Turns out, ‘shrooms are quite versatile!

In fashion, mushroom leather has been used on the runways for several years now. Mushroom leather is light, flexible, and durable. Tests have shown the material to be as strong as deerskin!

The growing process for mushroom leather takes around three weeks, compared to three years to raise cattle to a decent size to allow for one piece of usable leather.

Currently, mushroom leather costs about the same as high-end animal leather, due to the production runs being small. However, more brands are starting to incorporate this leather into their collections and place higher volume orders – which will ultimately help lower the cost.
Stella McCartney – Falabella Bag using Mushroom Leather
Brands using mushroom leather:
  • Stella McCartney, a British apparel brand selling high-end clothing, shoes, bags, and accessories for men, women, and kids, using vegan leathers and sustainable materials.
  • Adidas, an international sportswear brand that manufactures shoes, clothing, and accessories.
  • ZVNDER, a German vegan and sustainable company specializing in mushroom leather accessories.
  • nat-2, a luxury state of the art sustainable footwear brand based in Munich, Germany known for their high-end sneakers.
  • Gucci, a leading luxury brand based in Florence, Italy.
  • Lululemon Athletica, a premium athletic wear and yoga accessories company headquartered in Vancouver, CA.

Biofabricated Leather

The newest in sustainable leather technology is biofabricated leather. Biofabrication is the process of creating and assembling collagen and different proteins to yield leather that is “naturally indistinguishable” to traditional types. The process originated for medical use, developing human skin for burn victims, etc.

The material can be developed to any size, thickness, or softness, or resemble any part of the animal skin. Biofabricated leather is abrasion-resistant, water-resistant, durable, with superior colorfastness.

It retains its shape and resists creasing for enhanced performance and sustainability.

The price is comparable to animal leather, but is not available yet in large volumes. This is an innovative material to keep an eye on – you WILL want to use it in your collection.

Sustainable products and materials are the future. Don’t let your brand get left behind or become obsolete.


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Thread & Butter takes inspiration from trends around the world and delivers thoughtful, creative design solutions with a whimsical and eclectic attitude. Our work is exciting, demanding, outstandingly creative, and strikes a delicate balance of being of the moment, yet timeless. We are the thread that connects your brand to the world, seamlessly.

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