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THE IMMEDIATE NEED OF OUR CLOSETS - VEGAN LEATHER

TEXTILE INNOVATION

Vegan leather – not made from the skin of dead animals.

There have always been some leather alternatives but those are usually made from plastics. Not only do they need around 500 years to degrade, but also they pose a big threat to our oceans and to our food chain. From fishing lines to flip-flops, there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans. Additionally, the process of plastic production releases to the environment dangerous chemicals, such as dioxins. Is why we need Eco friendly Vegan leather, which is cruelty free and biodegradable.

In the making of natural leather more than a billion cows, pigs, goats, sheep, alligators, ostriches, kangaroos, and even dogs and cats are cruelly slaughtered for their skins every year. Many of these animals have their tails and horns cut off without painkillers, and some are even skinned and cut apart while still conscious.

Turning skin into leather takes loads of energy and a toxic brew of chemicals—including mineral salts, coal-tar derivatives, formaldehyde, oils, dyes, and finishes, some of them are cyanide-based. Tannery waste contains water-fouling salt, lime sludge, sulphides, acids, and other pollutants.

Below is some beautifully textured leather lookalikes that shall be considered by the environmentally responsible citizen.

PAPER

It may be hard to believe that paper can be as strong as leather, it can certainly be strong enough for a handbag and many replacement products for animal leather. Eco friendly paper products are handmade using virgin fibres from cultivation, instead of deforestation. The manufacturing process is similar to that used to produce leather, with each individual sheet of paper stretched and tanned to produce a durable and washable paper.

Some of the designers that have so far made of line of Paper leather bags are, Bottega Veneta, Ilvy Jacobs and Engage Green.

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CORK

Cork is one of the best vegan and eco-friendly fabrics. Long used as a water-resistant, organic material in floor tiling, cork is widely regarded as being one of the most ecologically friendly materials around. It’s easily recycled, completely natural, and using Cork Oak forests for industry helps prevent desertification and deforestation.

After being harvested, the cork is left to air dry for six months. Then it’s boiled and steamed to get even more elasticity. Heat and pressure are applied to cork to press it into blocks, which are later sliced in thin sheets that can be transformed into a multitude of wonderful cork leather accessories. Unlike the heavy chemical processing of leather, cork leather production is chemical-free.

With its naturally waterproof qualities and organic texture, brands like Chanel and Louboutin have put the Portugal leather to good use.

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WAXED COTTON

While fashions have changed throughout the years, waxed cotton fabric has remained. Preferably organic, it’s a perfect substitute for leather. Waxed cotton is a unique high-performance fabric. It is made by weaving 2-ply cotton yarn into a strong canvas fabric, which is then treated with a proprietary mixture of micro and technical waxes. This oil/wax treatment creates a highly resistant wind and water barrier, while maintaining the breathability of the cotton. Big brands, such as 7 for all Mankind and Marc Jacobs have long used this for jeans and bags, respectively. The material is also pliable, waterproof, and unlike leather, easily washable, cutting down on specialist textile cleaning bills, and also saving the environment from more dry cleaning chemicals.

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RECYCLED RUBBER

Synthetic rubber is hardly biodegradable, and then what becomes of an old rubber product? When rubber gets recycled properly, it is used as a TDP – Tire Derived Product. TDPs are used belt around your waist, made in a recycled rubber roll form, they are converted into playground surfacing that protects your kids.

Some rubber, such as that used in inner tubes, can actually have quite a leathery texture and density, making it the perfect material for bags. Paguro, for example, is one brand that makes stylish unisex bags and sassy cuffs from the easy-to-care for material. The recycled rubber they use imitates the look of fine grain, matte leather, which translates beautifully into their various accessory designs.

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COOLSTONE ‘LEATHER’

This is a brand new kind of leather. It’s made from sew able slate stone and has a matte grey finish. It looks and feels a bit like paper combined with stone. It has an old battered leather look. As it ages the little scratches that form on it make it look like a well-worn stone. It also softens even further as it ages. A fairly new material but it’s got a lot of potential for replacing PU and even leather in the future.

The world’s thinnest stone is applied to a backing of fleece, which gives it flexibility and means it can be sewn together. the material also has naturally patterned texture which varies – no tow pieces are alike. Sew able slate is marketed by the Italian family-run Villani Leonello company which also supplies cork leather and other natural materials including cotton, linen and jute.

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TREE BARK LEATHER

Tree Bark Leather is similar to cork leather but is made from sustainable timber, wood leather is durable, strong and one piece is never like another, due to the varied natural grains of the product.

It can even be made as fine and thin as real leather, to create coats and trousers. The best tree bark leather is made from fast growing, renewable wood, and is treated with non-toxic chemicals to make it durable, well preserved and flexible enough to sew. Dolce and Gabbana has used Tree bark leather and its amazing effects in their bags and platform shoes.

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APPLE LEATHER

In the world of material innovation, we see more and more awareness of the impact materials have on the world. When we realise that cows are one of the largest contributors to climate change, it is not strange that more and more alternatives for fake leather appear on the market. The Swiss company Happy Genie created luxury handbags out of a new animal free leather: made from apples. The Apple Girl considers apple leather as “a substitute to conventional, fossil fuel derived textiles.” Her company is the first supplier of this new material.

To make the leather, the apple waste, from apples cultivated in Italy, is dried and ground into powder. This powder is mixed with pigments and a binder and spread out onto a canvas, until it turns into a leather-like material, which is PETA-approved vegan.

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PINATEX

Commonly known as the pineapple leather, this material is made from wasted parts of the pineapple bush, and is 100% eco friendly, vegan friendly and is also ethical in the sense that it gives pineapple farmers yet another source of income from their crops. The material feels like cowhide leather, is watertight and very durable. Due to these qualities more and more shoes and bags brands have been using it.

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Most of the Vegan leather is plant based and eco friendly. They are economically, commercially viable and fair trade. Pinatrex and Muskin are 100% vegetable, and Pinatrex is also made from existing agricultural waste, aiding farmers in Philippines. Cork and barkcloth help local communities sustain a traditional way of life, rubber has sustainability initiatives in place, sew able slate is supplied by small family run business. In short our very small conscious choice as a consumer can make a big wide impact to the lives of these farmers/makers and to the environment we will in. Let's contribute for ourselves to ourselves! 



Related Articles

Although industrial metal is a new introduction in the jewelry market, it has been a part of jewelry and manufacturing since the ancient time. The durability, strength, and contemporary look these metals provide to jewelry is certainly appreciable; hence, the popularity of industrial metal jewelry is increasing day by day now, especially in engagement rings. These metals are known as “alternative metals” in the jewelry industry. Some of these metals are Titanium, Cobalt, and Steel. Let’s have a brief look at these lovely metals.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is a metal that proffers excellent shine and hue when it is polished and finished. Unlike many precious metals, it is a tarnish-resistant metal. Besides, it requires very little of your attention in maintenance because it does not get chipped or scratched easily (a little care is recommended though). Iron, 0.15 percent carbon, and 10 percent chromium are combined to make stainless steel. Needless to say, it does not rust, which makes its aesthetic appeal everlasting.

Titanium

Titanium is a wondrous alloy of lightweight and strength that does not tarnish and is corrosion-resistant. To be precise, it is about half the weight of steel yet identical to steel in color and hue. It is combined with yellow gold accents and polished to get a decent glow. Its hypoallergenic (if not mixed with nickel) quality makes it perfect for jewelry. Since it is considerably lightweight, it is easy to wear and is perfect for those with an active lifestyle.

Tungsten Carbide

Tungsten Carbide is darker (Grey) in shade than titanium. It is a composition of tungsten and carbon, which is responsible for the strength of this metal. It is scratch and damage resistance, making the jewelry polish last for long years. Tungsten Carbide is mostly used in men's wedding bands and rings due to its durability and attractiveness. These rings do not bend out of shape or get scratched and maintain the perfectly polished finish for a lifetime.

Cobalt

This bright white metal has been used in the medical industry as well as in making jewelry for a long time ago. This contemporary metal is not only dense and durable but similar in weight to gold. Cobalt is a great alternative for white gold or platinum as it is easy on the pocket (however, more expensive than Titanium and Tungsten Carbide).

These above industrial metals are some unbeatable alternatives to expensive traditional jewelry metals such as gold and platinum. Nonetheless, they are not widely popular yet as most people do not know about them. Slowly but surely these metals are beginning to grow as expensive metal substitutes.


When one hears the word 'Charcoal,' the mind may hark back to the days of middle school when charcoal was exemplified by the blacksmith’s forging, the creation of black powder for fireworks, and in general something to be used in bright burning furnaces and forges. 

This middle school view of charcoal is possibly embedded in most young minds. A high number of people are unaware of what charcoal is, what it’s qualities are, and the sheer breadth of use it can have for us, especially dermatologically! 

Scientific Properties of Charcoal

Charcoal, at its basic level, is a carbon of lighter weight, produced through heating organic, carbon-rich materials in an inert atmosphere, a process known as slow pyrolysis. Sounds quite complicated right? Don’t worry. You do not have to know about the chemical processes behind charcoal. Knowing it’s characteristics, which in turn determine its utility, is enough. 

Charcoal can burn at high temperatures with little to zero smoke, which makes it immensely useful as an industrial and metallurgical fuel. Furthermore, charcoal produces little soot, the black powdery substance left behind by the burning of wood. Therefore, it becomes a very convenient material for using as a burning agent. 

Charcoal as Skin Care

Charcoal, arguably saw its rise at industrial scale through the efforts of Henry Ford, who used it for automobile fabrication. Using charcoal for ‘skincare’ is an age-old practice carried out by Egyptians, although there is an asterisk on the ‘care’ part, as it was used to preserve the skin of the dead in circa 1500 BC.

But, there is another uncanny characteristic of charcoal, which has made it popular as a product in the cosmetic industry, especially in the form of charcoal face washes

Active Charcoal  

The form of charcoal that is popularly used in the industry is activated charcoal. What is so special about it? The answer lies in the range of its surface area - between 950 to 2000 square metres per gram. If you cannot imagine what that number means then consider this: ~22 kgs of activated charcoal will potentially have a greater surface area than the area of New Delhi (just the city).

Contain Pores

The reason why charcoal has such a high surface area is because of the extremely high number of pores! These pores ensure that certain chemicals stick to the carbon surface when charcoal is applied and get adsorbed, which in simple terms is sticking of things to a surface at an atomic and microscopic level. 

Highly Absorbent 

Charcoal finds various applications in different industries due to its adsorption capabilities. More than 180 years ago, charcoal’s adsorption characteristics were first utilised to treat patients of poisoning. Activated charcoal is now commonly used in treating many types of poisonings. Another common use of the adsorption capabilities of activated charcoal is the filtration and purification of water through charcoal filters. Such filters are also sometimes used in gas masks.

The super-adsorption properties of activated charcoal make it a good ingredient for men’s face wash. The male skin is usually exposed to a lot of pollutants, especially if you are doing a job that requires travel or spending long-hours outside. 

Removes Pollutants

Face wash activated charcoal will help you remove some of the pollutants from your skin, helping clean your skin pores much more microscopically than a normal face wash. It may be claimed at places that charcoal-based face wash is the solution to rescue the beauty of mankind, but such a claim can be an exaggeration. 

Filters Impurities

The activated charcoal will filter some, but not all, pollutants from your skin. Activated charcoal is known to absorb chlorine-based substances, such as chlorine and chloramines. It also absorbs volatile compounds with odours, such as hydrogen sulphide, and minuscule amounts of metals, such as iron, mercury, and chelated copper. Although, if you have absorbed some amounts of metal, then charcoal adsorption may not be the ideal solution. Visiting a doctor might be better!

In a nutshell

When you use an activated charcoal-based face wash, a dose of realism is called for. While it will improve the condition of your skin, and even help with some gentle exfoliation, you should know that taking care of your skin is through a combination of using the right products, such as the charcoal face wash and making sure you take preventive measures to avoid the wear and tear on your skin.

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