Leather is a product that is traded more than any other in the world. In fact, it is part of an industry that is worth some $80 billion. The problem that most people have with leather is that it uses harsh chemicals and animal products, so both environmentalists and animal rights activists are up in arms over its use. That is where these two entrepreneurs from Mexico come in. They’ve managed to make a leather alternative that is eco-friendly and extremely realistic.
Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez are using a most unexpected resource: cacti. They have a method that makes vegan leather out of cacti that is extremely realistic. The vegan leather is called Desserto and they grow the cacti on their plantation in the Mexican state of the Zacatecas. The particular cactus that they grow is known for having thick, rugged skin so it is similar to 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. Also, symbolically, it represents all of us Mexicans and everybody knows it,” shared López Velarde. “Besides, to be able to incorporate this material into various industries, it is essential to count on a stable, abundant supply of raw material. We currently have 2 hectares where we cultivate nopals, as well as an expansion capacity of 40 hectares. Regarding production capacity, we have 500,000 linear meters a month.”
When the cactus plant leaves are mature, they are removed from the plant, cleaned, mashed, and dried in the sun for three days. They are then sent in for processing. The vegan leather can be died using natural methods developed by Adriano Di Marti, López Velarde’s and Cázarez’s company. When completed, the vegan leather is certified organic and can last for as long as a decade under normal use.
Adriano Di Marti’s vegan leather is also similar in price to what you would pay for genuine leather. The company has already created car seats, shoes, handbags, and even apparel using this product. The “leather” is organic so it is breathable. That fact alone makes it superior to other leather alternatives. Along with helping keep the environment safe, it is biodegradable and contains no plastic, unlike synthetic leather. In other words, you are looking at a true alternative to leather that doesn’t impact the planet negatively.
When Adriano Di Marti debuted in 2019, it did so at Lineapelle, a fair for international leather manufacturers. The response was positive for the most part, with people appreciating the flexibility, softness, touch, and color of their vegan leather. At this time, a number of industries are negotiating with the company to see if they can make the product accessible to medium and small businesses. You might just find that you are wearing cactus leather before you know it!
Desserto is used to create anything that would otherwise be created with leather. It’s vegan leather made out of cacti.
Learn more about what these entrepreneurs have done in the following video:
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