Vegan leather also called “Faux” leather, is an alternative leather to animal leather. Vegan leather is not made from animal skin. Plants, fruits and plastic are the main materials, which is used to make vegan leather. Vegan leather has a similar look like leather which is produced from animal skin. Animal leather is also known as Synthetic leather, Pleather and Alternative leather.

Following are the latest substitutes and alternative of animal leather:

1. Mango Leather

Luxtra is London based sustainable brand. Luxtra launched a handbag which are made from mangoes. To create the durable leather like material made from leftover mangoes, the Luxtra collaborate with Hugo De Boom & Koen Meerkerk- founders of the Dutch Compony Fruit Leather Rotterdam. To produced mango, leather the sourced leftover mangoes from fruit markets. Fruit leather produced the mango leather in its facilities in Rotterdam by mashing and boiling leftover mangoes to remove bacteria. Luxtra is one of the first UK brand who introduced designs using fruit leather mango material.

Figure 1. Mango Leather

2. Elephant Ear Plant Leather

Elephant Ear Plant Leather is produced by Nova Kaeru, an organic tannery based in Brazil. It has similar characteristics like traditional leather. This innovative leather is environment friendly. The CO2 emission of its production process are much lower as they are compensated by the carbon absorption of the plant growth. This leather is used to make bags and furniture.

Figure 2. Elephant Ear Plant Leather

3. Fleather

Fleather is made from discarded flowers. backed by IIT Kanpur has made a fleather, a bio-material alternative to animal leather. This is made from enormous amount of flower waste from temples of Kanpur. Fleather has Chitin, a kind of protein that gives the same properties which other leather gives such as strength and durability.

Figure 3. Fleather

4. Coconut Water Leather

New fashion brand “Malai” uses bacterial cellulose obtained from coconut water to generate a leather like material. They used coconut water which is discarded from a factory is Kerala, India. The leather is compostable and biodegradable. This innovative, water-resistant textured leather is used to make purses, wallets, bags and shoes. Malai was launched by Zuzana Gombosova in 2018. Zuzana Gombosova, a material researcher and fashion designer from Slovakia & CS Susmith, a product designer from Kerala.

Figure 4. Coconut Water Leather

5. Green Tea Leather

A research group at Auburn University in Alabama invented a material obtained from green tea, green tea material has similar properties like animal leather. When green tea material mixed with other sustainable fabric such as hemp, it becomes breathable, biodegradable and strong material. From this green tea leather the team made prototype shoes which tester resulted was more flexible & comfortable than animal leather.

Figure 5. Green Tea Leather

Applications of Vegan Leather

  • Automotive
  • Clothing
  • Furnishing
  • Footwear
  • Accessories


Further Development of Vegan Leather

Leather is one of the greatest traded commodities in the world. Leather product industry play a important role in the world’s economy. Demand for vegan leather is increasing worldwide due to its various applications such as, pursues, bags, clothing, furnishing, automotive, accessories and others. Demand for a faux or vegan leather is driven by a range of components such as, evolving customers trend, increasing demand for animal free products, rising knowledge about the features of vegan leather among others.

In the vegan leather market research and development work has played an important role in distinguishing the overall properties of vegan leather from traditional leather. Stockholders in the vegan leather market view are investing in research and develop vegan leather with excellent characteristics. Upcoming and established competitor in the current market landscape are involved in the production of vegan leather with different colors, patterns, functionalities and textures. There are various companies are get into strategic partnerships to produce innovative and durable vegan leather in line with trend of developing industries. In addition most of the companies are announcing alliance with other companies to facilitate the creation of new models aimed at commercializing different applications. Currently due to the increasing demand for vegan leather in various industries such as furnishing, clothing, footwear, automotive, accessories, etc., vendors are expected to align their product development work, according to the need of the each of their industries.


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M.Sc Student PG Department of Textile Science and Apparel Design, S.N.D.T. Women’s University, Juhu, Mumbai