Vegan leather made from cacti

Mexican start-up Adriano Di Marti developed a partially biodegradable leather alternative made from cacti.

Called Desserto, the leather alternative was developed by two young Mexicans, Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez. The material is a response to the environmental footprint of the fashion industry.

The leather is made from the nopal cactus, also known as prickly pear. This species is found in abundance in Mexico, where the plant serves as a food source and is used in anything from soups and beverages to breads and candy. The cactus is also used in dyes.

Lopez and Cázarez were inspired by other plant-based leather alternatives like Piñatex (made of pineapple leaves).

The leather alternative was developed over a period of two years. It is free of toxic chemicals, phthalates and PVC, and its PETA approved vegan. According to the designers, the material is partially biodegradable, has high strength and a minimum durability of 10 years. The material is suitable for the same kinds of use as animal-based leather, like fashion, furniture, leather goods, even in the automotive and aeronautic industry.

Photos: Adriano Di Marti