Leather has been such a glorified part of fashion choices worldwide. We have always associated leather with animals, and that is how it has been for as long as we can remember. An alternative to animal leather was quite unheard of until a few decades ago. Today, we have many other options. But the question that always arises is what is vegan leather really made of?
Veganism comes from the idea that it is unnecessary for human beings to consume animal products to survive, use objects made from animals or animal by-products or conduct tests on animals to be fashionable. Also, we cannot ignore the carbon footprint that the leather and tanning industry leaves behind; not to mention the health hazard of the workers it employs.
Veganism is not just another option; it is a conscious lifestyle choice. Following the ideology laid out above, vegan fashion is free of any animal byproducts such as leather, silk, fur, wool, bone, or horn. Putting it in the most general way, vegan leather is also known as faux leather. The idea is to find eco-friendly alternatives that are recyclable, biodegradable, sustainable, and most importantly cruelty free.
GUNAS is committed to this cause. We ensure that our vegan leather, made of a variety of alternatives, are 100% cruelty free. Vegan leather not only looks good, it feels good too, because we know at heart that we have been able to contribute our bit towards the larger picture.
What is vegan leather made of?
- Polyurethane coated cotton canvas
- Microfibers upholstery fabrics
- Recycled plastic bottle lining (rPET)
- Recycled paperboard for inner construction
- Recycled metals for our hardware
The most commonly used material for manufacturing synthetic leather is a plastic component called Polyurethane, which we know as PU leather. And thus, there is a popular notion that vegetarian leather is equivalent to plastic. It is true that plastic is usually a primary component of what vegan leather is made of. The challenge has been to find a more sustainable, eco-friendly and non-synthetic option. And it has led to innovative ideas in the fashion industry.
Food for fashion
So, is your veggie leather plastic, then? While plastic is a major alternative, there are other interesting sources that the material industry has discovered. Fibres extracted from food waste such as apple skins, banana plant stem, corn, pineapple leaves, grapes and mushroom are some fascinating options for what vegan leather is made of. Food for thought? Fruit for fashion, we say!
We have always been aware that vegan leather made of plastic should not be the only solution. Even using food-based materials meant that some amount of plastic had to be added to your vegan leather for durability and strength.
Our dream to find a plastic free alternative saw the light of day when we learnt about MULBTEX (TM). It is a Korean material made from Mulberry plant leaf pulp and it is a beauty.
Mulberry silk is another material that has been around in the fashion diaspora for a long time. And you must be wondering about how Mulbtex can be vegan? Mulberry is after all the staple for silkworms. But the truth is that Mulbtex is cruelty free. We bypass the part where worms are killed to extract silk protein from them. Instead, we get it directly from the mulberry leaves.
GUNAS holds exclusive rights to Mulbtex in the US. And, our Moby bag is the world’s first plant-based men’s bag made from Mulbtex. Mulbtex is strong and waterproof, yet has its own silky shine. And the cherry on top is that it is absolutely plastic free.
Vegan leather is a step towards finding cruelty-free solutions to fast fashion. It is the kindness and love that our planet, our people, and our animals deserve.