Plant leather is becoming big business. Driven by vegan and sustainable demands, apples, pineapples, grapes, mushrooms, and even mangoes, are being turned into forms of synthetic leather.
Just as meat-free has made in-roads into our diets, animal free leather alternatives are stealing a march on your wardrobes, mostly notably in accessories.
How new is “plant leather”? Why are so many brands and designers turning to these new materials and is it really as green and sustainable as we’re led to believe?
Futures consultant Petah Marian says: “There is an emerging shift towards more vegan lifestyles, where some people are not wanting to wear leather. Plant-based leathers have also had a very positive rebrand with luxury brands like Stella McCartney and Nanushka making them aspirational items.”
Synthetic leather is divided into three categories: PU (polyurethane), PVC, and Bio-based. In 2020, the market was valued at over $30 billion. Infinium Global Research published a global report in 2020 on the Vegan Leather Market which estimated that the market for vegan leather will reach up to $89.6 billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 49.9%, in the forecast period (2019-2025).
“Some people perceive leather as being a luxury good, one that is durable and worthy of a premium price tag, but increasingly people are becoming concerned about the environmental impacts of the tanning process,” says Marian.
“As the processes around plant-based leathers have improved and the product has improved in tactility, consumers are becoming increasingly interested in buying products that are made from plant-based leather,” she says. See details.