Leather continues to be one of the most wanted and popular brand materials in the fashion industry. The Hermès Birkin and the Chanel 2.55 are two of the most prized luxury brands in the world, and both are made of leather. A status symbol is also leather footwear, such as any Salvatore Ferragamo men's loafer.
Although leather has long held a prestigious position in the fashion olympus of materials, alternatives to leather are becoming increasingly common as businesses strive to offer more non-animal products. One of the most well-known and rapidly expanding alternatives to animal leather is mycelium, or mushroom leather. Mushroom leather has become so popular thanks to businesses like MycoWorks that Hermès used it for their iconic Victoria travel bag.
Another newly discovered leather alternative is mango. The entirely original mango fabric, created in the Netherlands by a business called Fruitleather Rotterdam, turns leftover fruit into a strong, leather-like textile.
The process is as followed: Purchasing extra mangoes from Dutch markets, de-seeding and pulping the fruit, combining the pulp with a binder, spreading the mixture out in big trays, and screeding the top to make it smooth.
The material is dried in the last phases, and top coatings of color, waterproofing, and embossments are added as desired by the customer.
Any waste material that is "upcycled" and given a new purpose is to be considered a success, and this mango material does just that. It is a highly innovative product in the area of leather substitutes because it doesn't include any plastic and has a very high fruit content (about 80%).
Some in the fashion industry contend that leather alternatives lack the durability and quality of genuine leather. The sustainability of alternatives to leather items is thus called into question. Alternatives to leather are also thought to be pricey, and it would be expensive for businesses to entirely change their supply chain. It's one thing to release a few items, but switching a supply chain to fully leather substitutes wouldn't be cheap.
Giving consumers options is still important to advertise. The demand for animal-free products will drive the trend toward leather substitutes, but there will always be customers who prefer genuine, high-quality animal leathers.
More information: https://fruitleather.nl/home/