It’s 2022, now. Cow leather bags, shoes, jackets, and belts should be a thing of the past. Make way because there’s a new material in town and it’s changing the face of the leather industry forever. That new-comer is apple leather.
What is apple leather?
Apple leather is a new bio-based material made from the seeds, stalks and skins of leftover apples.
You know, that apple juice you bought from the grocery store the other day? Well, the leftovers had to go somewhere. They were likely sold to a company called Frumat, who develops apple leather. Which then was sold to Mabel Industries, an Italian manufacturer who then turned it over to fashion brands to make sustainable, eco-friendly plant-based leather.
Why is apple leather the future?
This new leather trend is here to stay. Not only is it eco-friendly and vegan, but it’s also durable. According to Healabel, Apple leather is a strong, long-lasting, and UV-resistant material. This means your apple leather bag, shoes, or backpack can stand the test of time and give you a leather-like product you can love without the harm and waste.
Apple leather is also versatile. According to the Apple Leather graphic below, this material can be used for a variety of fashion and household products like:
But, how eco-friendly is apple leather, really?
In layman's terms, it’s more eco-friendly than using cow skin and faux leather like polyurethane. Here’s why.
It turns out, cow leather is the third most environmentally harmful material to produce due to its impacts on climate, water scarcity, fossil fuel use, and other factors.
Polyurethane on the other hand is more sustainable than cow leather but is still a synthetic fiber based on the fossil fuel, oil.
In contrast, apple leather uses far fewer fossil fuels than polyurethane and produces less CO2 than cow leather.
In addition, apple leather is less wasteful. By using the skin, seeds, and fibers of a fruit that would otherwise go to waste, a genius somebody invented a way to reuse those fibers and give them a whole new purpose.
The down-side to apple leather is that it is 50% fossil-fueled derived meaning it’s not completely biodegradable. But, neither is cow leather. Even when processed with vegetable-based tans, cow leather still doesn’t biodegrade completely.
While the fashion and textile industry has a long way to go, apple leather is a good start. It’s less wasteful, relies on fewer fossil fuels, and produces less CO2 emissions than cow leather or polyurethane.
Okay, I’m convinced. Now, where can I buy apple leather goods?
I’m glad you asked. I have a few brands I’ve been keeping my eye on that do offer apple leather in their product suites. Those brands include:
Samara was one of the leaders in the apple leather movement. They use the material to make bags, totes, laptop cases and mini pouches.
Veerah uses apple leather as well as a wide variety of other sustainable materials to make plant-based stilettos, boots, sandals and fun shoe accessories.
Sylven New York is another bangin’ sustainable shoe brand. They use apple leather to create boots, sneakers, and flats.
Virón is Paris-based brand leading the way with a variety of kick-butt boots made from apple leather.
As you can see the possibilities are endless for sustainable fashion, clothing, and accessories made from this new material. Mark my words, the future is made with plant-based sustainable materials and the days of cow leather dominating the industry will soon come to an end.
Let’s talk cruelty-free
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