Two entrepreneurs have created a sustainable, vegan alternative to leather - made from cactus plants.
Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez, from Mexico, created the cactus leather - aka Desserto - after two years of research and development. According to Fashion United, they wanted to create a cruelty-free fabric made without toxic chemicals, phthalates, or PVC.
López Velarde and Cázarez debuted the product at the recent International Leather Fair Lineapelle 2019 in October. They described the interest levels at the event as 'overwhelming'.
Experts said that 'out of all sustainable materials in the fair, [Desserto] was the most appropriate for use in luxury brands thanks to its flexibility, softness, touch and color'.
The fabric, which is partially biodegradable, could be used by the fashion, furniture, and automotive industries as it is highly durable. In addition, the makers claim it is customizable and breathable like animal leather.
"The idea of using this raw material was conceived because this plant does not need any water to grow, and there is plenty of it throughout the Mexican Republic," the pair told Fashion United.
"Also, symbolically, it represents all of us Mexicans and everybody knows it. Besides, to be able to incorporate this material to various industries, it is essential to count on a stable, abundant supply of raw material.
"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."