Like Leather at MaterialDistrict Rotterdam 2019!

In the exhibition Like Leather, a collaboration between Yksi Connect, Conscious Leather Foundation and MaterialDistrict, shown at MaterialDistrict Rotterdam 2019, surprising examples of sustainable alternatives for leather will be shown.

Leather is a beautiful material that has been used for a long time. Unfortunately, the tanning processes use many chemicals and water, not to mention the treatment of animals.

In the exhibition Like Leather during MaterialDistrict Rotterdam, a number of products, concepts and production methods of designers are shown that present sustainable alternatives to ordinary leather, divided in three themes.

Create New Value
While you can make square water melons, you can’t make square cows. That means that the leather industry has a lot of off-cuts. Fortunately, this material does not have to be wasted. The company Buxkin created coverings for walls and floors from recycled leather. Designer Julie van den Boorn created Compo Leather, made from shredded leather goods mixed with. The material is pressed into moulds to make products, without the need for extra binders. Agnieszka Mazur created tapestries from leftover leather, inspired by the craft of leather processing in Morocco. Hung Sheng Lee designed a collection of soft, skin-like fabrics with textures, colours and structures inspired by diseases like measles.

Slaughter waste
A lot of leather comes from animals slaughtered for their meat, like cows, pigs, and goats, but there are other sources that are currently often waste. Studio Nienke Hoogvliet and NYVIDD both use fish skin to make beautiful, exotic leather. Mies Loogman developed various tanning methods for the skins of wild boars that are shot in the Netherlands for safety reasons. Billie van Katwijk and Shahar Livne both know that beauty is not skin-deep; Van Katwijk turns to cow stomachs that are usually at best processed into dog food, while Livne created a leather-like material from blood of slaughterhouses.

Plant Power
Vegan leather does not have to mean plastic anymore; various types of plant-based leather-like materials are being developed. Sarmite Polakova and Clara Roussel developed materials based respectively on pine tree bark and poplar bark. The company reWrap developed the Tree Bag, made entirely of tree materials. Qwestion developed a material from banana plants, while Daniëlle Ooms created an apple-based material. Coffee Based turned to used coffee grounds to make a new material, while Atelier La Gadoue made a waterproof material from latex and linen.

Lecture programme
During MaterialsDistrict Rotterdam on March 14 from 10.30-12.45h, an interactive presentation on this theme takes place. Participating designers from the exhibition Like Leather, experts and representatives from the industry enter, amongst them designer Shahar Livne, Nicole van Enter of The Foodwearists, and Agnieszka Mazur, into a dialogue with the visitors. Following this event, at 13.00h, the new Conscious Leather Foundation will be launched. This platform collects and shares knowledge and know-how, initiates and creates collaborative projects and events and promotes sustainable production of leather and alternatives to leather. (For the full lecture programme, click here.)

Visit us
MaterialDistrict Rotterdam 2019 takes place from Tuesday 12 March until Thursday 14 March, in Rotterdam Ahoy, the Netherlands. For more information and a free ticket, click here.


  1. Oliver Heintz says:

    Not to forget BARKTEX_No-buffalo, made from tree bark fleece