Over the centuries, leather has become an important part of social life. Because of its thick and durable properties, leather is used in many fields, especially in the fashion field. However, leather is not a sustainable material as we think. To produce a skin, it has to go through many stages, consuming a lot of water and toxic chemicals, specifically it’s estimated that for every 900kg of live animal skin,300kg of chemicals is needed to process. That is also why the leather manufacturing industry is considered the most polluting industry in the world.
There are many materials that have been tested to create vegan leather. Unfortunately, however, the first vegan skins were made from plastic, a material often considered harmful and unsustainable. All of the above reasons are the reason why Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez came up with the idea of producing leather from a natural and highly sustainable material that is cactus.
The cactus skin contains no harmful substances, is completely organic and biodegradable. With high durability, softness and breathability, cactus skin has been put into the production of many kinds of products such as bags, coats, shoes, car seat covers, etc., at the same price as other animal skin products. Adrián says people who use their products can’t detect it’s not animal skin.
However, it also has a few weaknesses. The first is that the cicle-life of cactus skin is only about 10 years, shorter than animal skin. And since the product was only developed in 2019, it is still quite limited in colours and designs.
The cactus skin product was first introduced at the Lineapelle International Fair, Milan in 2019 and has been patented. Currently, Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez are still continuing to research and develop their products in the hope that this will be a substitute for animal skin in the future.