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Innovations: Cactus leather

Vegan, organic, sustainable

Leather is a much-loved material for shoes, bags and accessories. But using leather to make such items has long ceased to be necessary. Plant-based alternatives are gradually winning over the fashion industry. New to the market: Cactus-based leather.

April 2021

Animal-friendly, eco-friendly and resource-friendly. Plant-based equivalents to the traditional leather made from tanned hide are revolutionising the market, including those grown from mycelium or derived from apples or pineapples. But that's not all: In 2019, the Mexican start-up Desserto launched a soft leather alternative made from nopal cactus leaves. The advantages: The fabric is free of toxic chemicals, dispenses with the need for plastics-derived materials and looks just like leather made from animal hide. Cactus leather is used much like conventional leather to create shoes, bags, clothes or even furniture in a way which is sustainable and stylish – and comes with a clear conscience.

Innovative products for a more sustainable fashion world: In March 2021, H&M launched the first Innovation Stories collection, focusing on sustainable products for a circular fashion system. In partnership with Desserto, the pieces include block-heeled acid yellow strappy sandals made from plant-based leather which combine eco-friendliness and modern design. The complete collection features modern, experimental garments created from innovative fabrics, among them cactus leather, plant-based nylon derived from castor beans or organic cotton blends.

Neonyt – the global hub for fashion, sustainability and innovation – also shares the vision of more sustainability in the textile and fashion industry. The bi-annual event invites diverse exhibitors to showcase the latest trends and opportunities for change in fashion.

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  • Innovations