Young entrepreneurs are taking up the challenge of creating alternative, biodegradable materials to replace anything from plastics to building materials and many more in between, such as a new vegan material with the potential to replace the use of animal leather in the fashion, leather goods, furniture and automotive industries.
Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez, entrepreneurs from Mexico, recently launched Desserto, organic leather made entirely from the nopal (or prickly-pear) cactus, the first of its kind. Their aim was to create a sustainable, cruelty-free alternative to animal leather. Desserto is partially biodegradable and meets the technical specifications required by the fashion, leather goods, furniture, and automotive industries. The material has flexibility, breathability, durability of at least 10 years and is an environmentally friendly alternative to animal leather and synthetic materials.
“After two years of research and development, we managed to produce a suitable material that complies with the features and technical/mechanical specifications required by those industries that use animal or synthetic leather,” López Velarde told media outlet Fashion United. “Also, thanks to its organic composition, it is breathable, which makes cactus or nopal vegan leather similar to animal leather.”
Desserto was on show at the International Leather Fair Lineapelle in Milan, Italy last month and the creators are already working with major groups in different industries for potential applications.
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