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Innovative Materials: Our Top 5 Vegan Skin Alternatives

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In today’s post, we will share our top 5 vegan skin alternatives that are cruelty-free, beautifully crafted, and eco-friendly.

As we delve deeper into the innovative and colorful world of sustainable materials, we are discovering many revolutionary techniques, solutions, and designs, and we couldn’t be more excited to share some of these mindful materials with you.

 

“We live in a world where resources become scarcer by the day. Time to make a change.”

Fruitleather Rotterdam

 

1. Piñatex

Ananas Anam, the makers of Piñatex®, an innovative, sustainably sourced natural textile made from waste pineapple leaf fiber, is now a Certified B Corporation®.

After the pineapple harvest, the suitable plant leaves that are left behind are collected in bundles, and the long fibers are extracted.

The fibers are washed and dried naturally by the sun or during the rainy season in drying ovens. The dry fibers are purified to remove impurities, resulting in a fluff-like material.

This fluff-like pineapple leaf fiber (PALF) gets mixed with a corn-based polylactic acid (PLA) and undergoes a mechanical process to create Piñafelt. This non-woven mesh forms the base of all Piñatex collections. The rolls of Piñafelt are then shipped by boat from the Philippines to Spain or Italy for specialized finishing.

Piñatex is fit for use across fashion, accessories & upholstery and has been used by over 1000 brands worldwide, including Hugo Boss, H&M, the Hilton Hotel Bankside, and most recently, a creative collection with retail giants ZARA.

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Photo Credits: Ananas Anam, official website / Piñatex X Zara, capsule collection. Zara, official website.

2. Leap

From pineapples to apples! Born by upcycling apple waste discarded in cider production, Leap™ naturally saves time, energy and resources.

Today, Leap™ uses 80% bio-based ingredients to create its beautifully soft vegan skin, which smells just like roasted apples and is delicious!

With apple waste at its core, the material’s purpose is to be sustainable by design. The 3-layered structure is designed to be disassembled at the end of life, which makes Leap™ a truly next-gen material.

Thanks to their energy-efficient production, it takes only one day to create Leap™ using 99% less water and ~85% less CO2* than traditional leather production while altogether avoiding harmful substances.

Leap™ is not only a next-gen leather alternative; it’s produced responsibly every step of the way.

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Photo Credits: Leap

3. Viridis, Panama Trimmings

Produced by Panama Trimmings, they describe it as: “the only PU [polyurethane] made with renewable resources, Viridis contains 43% of polyols coming from CORN (GMO-free) grown for industrial end-use, processed into ethanol and its by-products, in other words, it is an animal-free PU synthetic material made using corn oil to emulate leather.

It’s important to note that although Viridis is not biodegradable, it expresses its sustainable content because it’s mainly produced using by-products from corn and wheat instead of petroleum-based products.

Reaching 69% bio content is the first material worldwide to be born exclusively for labels. It is a fantastic alternative to genuine leather because it has a great look and texture.

Several finishes and embosses are available, e.g., shiny with a grained emboss or a smooth matt, and an elegant color palette including white, black, brown, cognac, beige, dark brown, grey, khaki, red, blue, yellow, and off-white.

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Photo Credits: Viridis x Supergreen

4. Vegea

Vegea develops plant-based alternatives to fully synthetic oil-derived materials for fashion, furniture, packaging, automotive & transportation. By leveraging renewable resources as an alternative to non-renewable fossil ones, their production processes are based on exploiting biomass and vegetable raw materials.

A process develops the fabric for converting wine waste known as grape marc – grapes, skins, stalks, and seeds discarded during wine production into a vegan skin textile.

VEGEA has a coating of WBPU to give it the leather look and texture, so as with Viridis, it is not yet fully biodegradable.

The word ‘leather’ does not appear in its title or any of its texts because legislation passed in Italy in 2020 forbids the use of the word ‘leather’ in any way to describe materials not derived from the remains of animals – including its use in conjunction with other terms such as eco-leather, vegan leather, faux leather, and other synthetic fabrics.

Large retailer H&M launched shoe and bag products made in Vegea in early 2020.

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Photo Credits: Vegeta

 

5. Fruitleather Rotterdam

Dutch company Fruitleather Rotterdam gives wasted mangoes a new life. We do this by converting mango fibers into a vegan leather-like material that is then sold to designers worldwide.

In producing the raw material, Fruitleather Rotterdam uses natural additives to preserve the Fruitleather vegan skin sheets. The backing material is also derived from 100% natural sources. They currently provide material with a GOTS-certified organic cotton backing.

The process starts with the fruits being deseeded and mashed before being boiled to eliminate bacteria and prevent rotting. The fruit soup is then spread on a surface for drying.

This produces a sheet of material that can be easily worked, cut, sewn, printed, and covered with a coating resembling genuine leather. Fruit Leather Rotterdam has collaborated with handbag, shoe, and furniture brands. Read more on Fruit Leather Rotterdam here.

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Photo Credits: Fruitleather Rotterdam

It’s important to take a moment to address the ongoing discussions about the terminology surrounding “Vegan Leather.”

Materials not made from animal hide should not be called “leather” traditionally. Doing so can be misleading and might violate regulations in specific regions regarding product labeling and advertising. To prevent any confusion and ensure transparency, we have understood that it’s recommended to use alternative terms such as “vegan skin,” “synthetic leather,” “faux leather,” or other descriptors that accurately describe the material.

Some regulations and standards have been established to ensure accurate labeling of non-animal-derived leather alternatives, making it not only advisable but potentially legally required to use proper terminology in some cases.

 


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Think Tank of Color + Materials Trends for 2025

 

This one-day masterclass, set to take place in Barcelona, is designed for creatives eager to explore the latest material trends firsthand. During the session, participants will engage in interactive discussions, hands-on exploration of 200+ materials, and collaborative brainstorming to generate innovative ideas for their application.

Everybody gets to take home a box full of materials.

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