The new kid on the block in the vegan-leather world is "Desserto" - an innovative, cruelty-free textile made in Mexico from organic cactus leaves.
The material is smooth and flexible, comes in a great variety of colours and is made without toxic chemicals, phthalates or PVC.
HOW IT'S MADE
The Nopal cactus that is used to make Desserto is grown on a ranch in the Mexican state of Zacatecas. Mature cactus leaves are harvested every 6-8 months in accordance with the cactus' growth cycles. No irrigation is required as the plants are self-sustaining.
The harvested leaves are left to dry under the sun for three days, after which they are processed in to a powder, mixed with non-toxic binding materials, coloured and shaped into the final Desserto material.
The ranch on which the cacti grow is fully organic, so no pesticides or herbicides are used. Happily the thorns of the nopal cactus are very small, making it easy and safe for the agricultural team to harvest the leaves.
WHY WE USE IT
We love the story of Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez - the two innovators who created Desserto. They spent two years developing the innovative material after seeing the environmental devastation caused by the fashion, automotive and furniture industries in which they previously worked.
The material itself ticks many boxes: it's organic, uses an indigenous and renewable raw material, it saves huge amounts of water because the plants do not require irrigation, it is partly biodegradable and the company operates according to responsible harvesting principles. What's not to love?!
Furthermore, the production process is free from all the nasty chemicals typically found in traditional faux-leathers and the company is already adding a recycled backing to make the material even more eco-friendly.