The 7 top vegan leathers influencing the fashion world in 2022

Recently, the biggest news in fashion and leather circles is that the world’s first vegan MuSkin handbag debuted at Paris Fashion Week as part of Stella McCartney’s Summer 2022 collection presentation. The Frayme Mylo bags are manufactured from Mylo.The vegan leather they use to make the bags are extracted from fast-growing mycelium (mushroom root system) by startup Bolt Threads.This is a significant symbol for the fashion industry to commit to environmental protection.

MuSkin handbag-1
MuSkin handbag-2

As mentioned in one of my previous articles, the global vegan leather market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 48.1% during the forecast period of 2020-2026. By 2025, the vegan leather market will be worth $89.6 billion.

Here, we have compiled a list of all 7 types of vegan leather that are widely used or are emerging in the industry.
In our list, you will find the biggest, best and most comprehensive vegan leather alternatives on the web.

Piñatex (aka pineapple leather)

Pinatex is one of the first natural vegan leather brands to emerge as an alternative to PU and PVC, which have been widely used in animal-free products over the past few years but are harmful to the environment.
Piñatex, developed by Ananas Anam, is a natural and sustainable textile made from pineapple leaves. pinatex has leather-like qualities and at the same time, it is much more environmentally friendly than PU and PVC leather.


Dr. Carmen Hijosa is the founder and Chief Creative and Innovation Officer of Ananas Anam Ltd.After working in the leather industry for a long time, she is well aware of the ecological damage caused by the leather manufacturing process and has been developing natural, sustainable alternatives to leather for many years.
The production of Pinatex not only provides an alternative to leather, but also creates new opportunities for pineapple growing countries; and harvesting them requires no additional land, water, fertilizers or pesticides.
After harvesting the pineapples, the leaves are collected from the plantations, and after a series of steps such as fiber extraction, washing and drying, purification, and finishing, they are made into a durable non-woven fabric.


Mango leather

The Dutch startup Fruitleather Rotterdam has created Mango leather, a durable vegan leather made from leftover mangoes from fruit markets.
The company uses leftover mangoes from fruit markets, mashing them, boiling them to eliminate bacteria, and then, after a series of steps, the resulting puree is applied to the surface of the bag and dried to create a “durable, corrosion-resistant leather-like material”.


Founders Koen Meerkerk and Hugo De Boon say they have been experimenting for years with how to turn leftover fruit into a durable leather-like material in order to bring eco-friendly and animal-friendly products to market.
Koen Meerkerk said, “We live in a world of increasing resource scarcity and it’s time to make a change.”
Compared to animal leather, creating a similar material from mangoes would not only reduce food waste, but would require fewer resources, be non-cruel to animals, and be more ethical.


MuSkin (aka mushroom leather)

People in the leather industry have been debating for years whether to use animal skins to make fine clothing, and the reason why it has caused such a heated debate is that tanning leather requires the use of chemicals that have a serious impact on the environment.
Muskin, invented by Zero Grado Espace in Monte Lupo, Florentino, solves these problems perfectly: it is a vegetable leather, made from a special kind of mushroom, which is treated without using any polluting substances.
MuSkin is one of the best-known vegan leather materials available, and it resembles cowhide in appearance, but is made from the top of the mulberry mushroom – which is naturally tanned to have a leather-like appearance.
Because it is 100% vegetable-based, it is biodegradable and takes up a very small environmental footprint compared to traditional cowhide.
MuSkin is made from a giant, inedible mushroom that is native to subtropical forests. Once extracted, this material is processed in a similar manner to animal leather, but using completely natural techniques, which include the use of eco-friendly products and more.
Because it is made from natural materials, Muskin is ideal for the production of shoes, hats, bags, linings (for cloth and furniture) and is a good substitute for animal leather.


Wine leather ( aka grape skin leather )

Wine leather, also known as grape leather, is produced by Vegea, an Italian technology company. The basic idea behind the project was to create a 100% recyclable vegan leather alternative.
Vegea’s Wine leather not only has the feel of traditional leather and has similar properties, but it also has other advantages.
For starters, it doesn’t require any water to produce – unlike traditional leather, which requires a huge water footprint. In addition, Wine leather does not require a complicated and toxic tanning process. It is an excellent alternative to animal leather, both in terms of environmental protection and appearance.


Last March, fast fashion giant H&M will collaborate with Vegea to launch handbags and shoes made from Wine leather. The collection also features a new dyeing process that uses waste coffee grounds and recycled polyester for fabric dyeing.
In an interview with Vogue magazine, H&M sustainability manager Pascal Brun said, “In the future, we need to use more biomaterials and more waste.”
“The company’s commitment to sustainability will further extend to the design process and longevity of its products, and encourage customers to “have more sustainable behaviors.”

H&M wine leather bag

Desserto leather ( aka cactus leather )

Earlier, Mexican entrepreneurs Adrian Lopez and Marte Cazarez developed a vegan alternative to leather, which is made from cactus.
For its extreme innovation, the invention also won the VII International Green Product Award in Munich, Germany.
This natural and organically tanned cactus-based organic material is called Desserto leather, and it has all the characteristics and functions of animal leather at a fraction of the cost.
They are non-toxic and do not contain toxic chemicals, phthalates, or PVC, according to Fashion United.
“This fabric is biodegradable because it is extremely durable.”


Coconut leather ( aka coconut leather )

Indian startup Malai has developed a coconut leather that uses bacterial cellulose extracted from coconut water, which is then processed, refined and mixed with other natural fibers (such as banana, hemp or teak leaves) to create a durable, leather-like material.
Coconut leather does not use any toxic substances or any plastic coating at any stage of the production cycle, and the end product is not only vegan-friendly, but also much less resource-intensive than real leather.


Cork Leather

The use of cork dates back 3500 years and in modern times, HZCORK is already one of the experts in the cork industry with more than 10 years of experience in cork production. Natural cork fabric, also known as cork leather, is made from shavings taken directly from the cork oak tree. Cork leather begins with harvesting, stripping the outside of the bark to expose the inner cork. This can be done without harming the tree itself, as the outer bark is able to regenerate itself! In fact, it has been suggested that harvesting cork can actually extend its life.
Once used for 25 years, cork can be harvested every 9 to 12 years without causing permanent damage to the bark. For the average cork oak (which can be over 200 years old), the harvest can last up to 16 times.
Cork leather is environmentally and ecologically friendly. The material is a great alternative to animal leather or vinyl because it is sustainable, washable, stain resistant, durable, antibacterial and hypoallergenic.


The main advantages of cork leather over animal leather are:

  • It is vegan: While all animal leather is a by-product of the meat industry, the product comes from animal skins. Cork leather is vegetable based and therefore vegetarian.
  • Harvesting is beneficial to trees: If done properly, the harvesting process is beneficial to trees because it enhances the uptake of carbon dioxide by trees.
  • Less chemicals in the manufacturing process: The tanning process of animal leather uses chemicals that are not environmentally friendly. Fewer chemicals are used in the manufacture of vegetable tanned animal leather, but they are still used. Cork leather can be environmentally friendly, but this depends very much on the fabric used to make it. For example, if polyester is used to support the cork, the fabric is not environmentally friendly because polyester cannot always be recycled and will decompose in about 500 years.
  • Lightweight: It is very lightweight, which is a key benefit. While animal leathers are not necessarily thick, there are thinner leathers that are typically used for clothing that are also very light.
  • Sewability and Flexibility: This material is very easy to use because of its flexibility and thinness. It is partly fabric, so if you are familiar with sewing fabric, you can choose cork leather and use your known techniques.
  • Versatility: From a design point of view, there are a large number of designs and colors to choose from. This is not necessarily an advantage over animal leather, but it is an advantage over cork leather in general. You won’t get bored with the multitude of designs out there.


  • Durability: In washing tests, we noticed that the cork layer came off the fabric easily. The cork layer is thin and by itself can be torn by hand like paper. What holds it together and gives it shape is the fabric to which it is attached. Animal leather is difficult to tear, and even the thinnest leather requires at least scissors to cut through.

Cork leather has a similar feel to animal leather or vinyl. It feels like quality leather: soft, smooth and supple. It’s not hard or brittle. Cork fabric looks stunning and unique. Use it for handmade bags, purses, clothing decor, craft projects, appliqués, embroidery, shoes or upholstery.
Because of the eco-friendly nature of cork leather and its versatility, more and more brands are being attracted to and using it, whether in the fashion world for bags, clothes to jewelry, in the automotive field or in other areas.

calvin-klein-cork bag
calvin-klein-cork bag
Mazda - MX30

In the road of environmental sustainability we can see the figure of major brands, especially sports fashion and luxury brands, the material, design, concept and technology of the product, each step needs to be constantly innovated to bring new ideas to consumers and the industry.

  • In October 2017, Gucci made the decision to say it would no longer use fur by spring 2018. burberry promised to drop fur from all future collections in September 2018.
  • In December 2018, Chanel announced that it would stop using fur and exotic animal skins as fashion textiles.
  • H&M had introduced jackets made from a leather alternative made from the newly developed pineapple leaf cellulose in its Conscious Exclusive 2019 collection
    Dutch Amsterdam-based footwear
  • Brand Mercer Amsterdam is launching sneakers made from plant leather in 2020. The raw materials for the sneakers include plant leather, recycled plastic bottles and EVA plastic soles produced on the basis of seaweed extracts.
  • Adidas is working on a new “plant leather” material for shoe manufacturing, made from mycelium material as an alternative to leather, to reduce the use of animal materials.

Many fashion brands are moving away from animal leather, and CORK, CRUELTY FREE, ETHICAL FASHION, SUSTAINABLE FASHION, VEGAN AND SUSTAINABLE FASHION, VEGAN FASHION, VEGAN FASHION BLOGGER, VEGAN LEATHER, these labels are the future of fashion!

Contact us today for more information on cork vegan leather!🔽


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