With today’s efforts on reducing waste and relying on sustainable fashion, two young entrepreneurs from Mexico have created an alternative to leather, the first of its kind, with none other than nopal (prickly pear). Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázares recently launched Desserto, an organic alternative to leather made out entirely of the cactus plant synonymous to their native country. And yes, this vegan leather is just as aesthetically pleasing as the real leather you see on the handbags you often covet, made by some of the most prestigious designers.
According to their website, their mission is to “to be at the forefront of innovation going beyond the needs of the leather goods market, offering high-quality materials made with sustainable alternatives.” Like many brands, the creative duo relies on high quality and their goods are made in Italy, however, they’re keen on environmental awareness.
In an interview with Fashion United, the founders explained how the light bulb idea came about. “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,” they said. “Also, symbolically, it represents all of us Mexicans and everybody knows it.”
For those who have yet to feel this innovative material, Adrián and Marte also expanded on what cactus leather is really like. “There is no intensive use of water and it is free of phthalates, toxic chemicals and PVC,” they explained. “Also, its flexibility may result in production savings because it boosts the productivity of the production lines using it, and it is also a material offering touch and softness that is very similar to animal leather.”
Aside from fashion, they’re hoping their new creation is used to replace other leather goods used in furniture as well as the automotive industry.