by Jessica Aszkenasy
Looking for a more cow-friendly alternative to your once-loved leather boots? You’ve come to the right place. And you’re not alone; the vegan leather industry is booming and predicted to be worth over $85bn (£63.3bn) by 2025.
We’ve trawled the web in search of the most weird and wonderful lab-grown leathers and have narrowed it down to five moo-tiful options
1. Mushroom leather:
San Francisco-based MycoWorks has created a leather made out of one of our favourite pasta recipe ingredients: mushrooms. The leather is grown from mycelium, the mass of tubes found in the roots of mushrooms that help them find water. From shoes to outer space, MycoWorks say their mycelium technology could also be used to make batteries and spaceships.
2. Pineapple leather
Ananas Anam’s is taking drinking piña coladas and dancing in the rain to a whole new level. The Spanish company, founded by Dr Carmen Hijosa, makes “Piñatex” out of fibre from the leaves of pineapple plants. This fruity leather is made using the world’s first-ever automated machine that extract the fibres from the leaves discarded from the pineapple harvest. After the leaves are stripped of their fibres, the leftover product can be used as biofuel or fertiliser. Luxury fashion brand Hugo Boss is getting a piece of the action, having just launched its own line of “Piñatex” trainers. Juicy.
3. Wine leather
A smooth Bordeaux and a pair of brand new shoes – a match made in heaven. Literally. Italian company Vegea has perfected a textile made from grape skins, stalks and seeds generated by wine production. The company produced its own Vegeatextile collection, with the support of the H&M Foundation and under the creative direction of ecodesigner Tiziano Guardini, as featured in Italian Vogue. The collection included prototypes of dresses, handbags and shoes. Cheers to that!
4. Apple leather
One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. Or be used to make handbag. Italian inventor Alberto Volcan has come up with a way of turning waste from the apple industry into shiny textiles. His method involves processing apple cores and peel which are turned into apple flour and made into leather using a natural glue. Swiss company Happy Genie are launching their online shop this summer, selling vegan handbags made from the material.
5. Tree bark leather
It turns out shoes really do grow on trees. Well, almost. German company Barktex has developed a faux leather made from tree bark fleece. The production technique is originally from Uganda, where the bark from the Mutaba fig tree is harvested every year. The bark cloth is made in Ugandan factories using polymer technology which involves the manufacture, processing, analysis and application of long chain molecules.