We live in a world of limited resources. The way we design, make, buy and use garments needs to be radically reconsidered. At treen, we strive to do much of the legwork for you. We meticulously research the brands we work with before adding them to our core collection (learn more about Our Values and how they inform our buying process). It's through this lens of attention-to-detail that allows us to witness the innovation in textiles firsthand. The rise of animal-free leather in recent months is unparalleled.
If you're one of our subscribers, you will know that we were recently inspired by various garments Stella McCartney produced with their lab-grown Mylo™️ mushroom leather. Cat, our founder, was lucky enough to see the brand's first mushroom leather bag at COP26 last year.
All this talk of animal-free leather inspired us to share what our brands are doing. Some are transforming natural byproducts, such as corn, bamboo, grapes and cactus, into leather alternatives; others are collecting plastic bottles from our oceans and turning them into animal-free leather alternatives.
Animal-free leather alternatives
These sneakers are made entirely from recycled materials, including cotton, ripstop nylon and rubber. With their new lease of life, they offer heel-to-toe comfort. The midsole is made from 100% algae. The manufacturer of this material utilises excess algae biomass harvested from ecosystems in need of algae management to create flexible foams, an excellent animal-free leather replacement.
Cacta Small Tote
Cacta’s name celebrates its main ingredient: cactus. This animal-free leather started out on an organic ranch in Mexico, where it was grown without irrigation, hand-harvested and sun-dried. It’s been blended with Angela Roi's eco PU material for the perfect combination of elegance, performance, and durability. Hand-crafted in Korea by skilled artisans, this piece has a clean, minimal design, and includes no hardware.
These classics are made from VEGEA, an innovative material that transforms winegrowing byproducts into an animal-free leather alternative. The finished plant-based fabric is not only vegan but also eschews the petrochemicals used to make most standard synthetic leathers.
Cayman Pocket Bag
HVISK's vegan leather bags are made from an animal-free leather called polyurethane leather, which is a composition of three materials: polyurethane (PU), polyester and calcium carbonate. Their PU has been fully or partly recycled; the other materials are made from post-consumer waste.
Flamingos Life have pioneered a new vegan and biodegradable material made from corn waste. The animal-free leather is also kind to our environment. The upper material is made with 47% corn; the lining is made from bamboo. Bamboo is a renewable and easy-to-grow material that requires zero chemicals or pesticides. Better still, it absorbs greenhouse gases.
Ucon Acrobatics started out with cotton bags and backpacks. However, the conventional cotton industry became more and more objectionable to them as it partly includes destructive agricultural practices. Their primary material is now polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which they make from recycled water bottles.