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The world is crazy about going green these days. From switching to organic food to minimizing plastic waste, we all contribute to helping to make an environmental impact. This undeniable desire to become environmentally conscious is being embraced in the fashion world as well, and with unique style, I must add.
From using recyclable shopping bags to switching to thrift products, Sustainable clothing materials are making a major splash. One such sustainable fashion trend gaining hype nowadays is vegan leather. In this post, we will be debating over the newest most intriguing participants making an environmental impact in the category of vegan leathers – cactus leather. So, let’s get started!
What is Cactus Leather?
First and foremost, you must acknowledge that there are two types of leather: real leather (which harms animals) and faux or vegan leather. We are all aware that real leather is made from the skin of a deceased animal. Calfskin is commonly used; however, some leathers are made of skins from an abundance of ostriches, lambs, buffalos, deer and other animals. Now, killing and obtaining resources from these creatures negatively affects biodiversity.
Vegan leather is a substitute for animal-based leather and is a feasible option. They come in two types: natural vegan leather and synthetic vegan leather. Cactus leather is tough and belongs to the category of natural vegan leather. It is made from leaves of the Nopal cactus plant, also known as, the prickly pear cactus, a spiky, flat-stemmed nopal cactus that grows primarily in hot, arid atmosphere. This plant, which originated in Mexico, has now spread across the globe, making the nopal cactus a valuable resource.
People consider the idea of cactus as leather absurd because, well, a cactus is a tough, rigid, thick, and pointed plant. However, it becomes velvety, sturdy, and of great quality and feels like genuine leather when properly treated.
Is Cactus Leather Vegan?
By definition, vegan leather includes all those leather materials that do not involve animal abuse. Now because of the abundance of plastic-based vegan leathers in the market being sold, several industrialists have turned to alternate raw materials in recent years to develop products. Entrepreneurs and scientists have created leather from various organic materials, including cork, walnut, mushroom, algae and pineapples.
This type of leather is natural, sustainable, and easy-to-grow alternative and can completely replace traditional leather. Not only is it derived from a renewable resource, the nopal cactus plant aka prickly pear cactus, but it is also eco-friendly in the sense that it requires very little water to grow.
What is in Cactus Leather?
Now that we know the origins of prickly pear cactus leather, it is time to discuss how it is made. The inventors are Adrian Lopez Velarde and Marte Cazarez, have spilled the tea on how they manufacture products made from nopal cactus (or prickly pear cactus). They called their company Desserto, and they have revolutionized the fashion industries.
They grow and sell Desserto products from their home-grown plant based natural species with rainwater and no artificial fertilizers in the nutrient-rich soil of Zacatecas, Mexico (Desserto company may have got their inspiration from Stella Mccartney). The workers harvest the fully grown leaves without damaging the structure of the plant. A new harvest is created every six to eight months since the leaves take this much time to mature.
The greatest prickly pear leaves are chosen for their toughness and resilience. The leaves can withstand low temperatures during the winter months because of their innate ability to withstand harsh temperatures. The fact that cactus is a perennial plantation is one of the best aspects of using it as a raw material. This means that each crop has an 8-year cycle.
The leaves are sun-dried for a few days after harvesting to attain the proper humidity levels. Following the drying of the leaves, the next step in the manufacturing process is to shape the leather into various items. It is blended with various non-toxic compounds to make it more resistant to corrosion and prevent it. The outcome is cactus leather, a partially biodegradable vegan and organic leather substitute.
Is Cactus Leather Real Leather?
No! It is an alternative to real leather, rather than a type of animal-based leather. As mentioned earlier, leather derived from the Nopal plant belongs to the vegan category. In contrast, real leather is a broad term and includes various types of leathers such as sheepskin leather, kidskin leather, salmon leather and deerskin leather all which goes through a tanning process before becoming the end product. Moreover, it has several distinctions from real leather, like using cactus leaves as a raw material instead of animal hides, not using chromium in tannery process, and being more environmentally friendly.
Is Cactus Leather really environmental-friendly?
There is a common misconception that all vegan leathers are environmentally friendly. While all-vegan leathers are devoid of animal cruelty and have a substantial advantage over traditional leather (where animals survive much longer), cactus leather’s environmental benefits are far greater.
To begin with, faux or vegan leather is made from various materials, not all of which are environmentally friendly. A bulk of vegan leather is made of plastic, for instance, PU leather, implying that these products impact the environment as real animal-skin leather does. Plant-based leather-like grape leather are also environmentally friendly and make a positive difference, while synthetic pu leather isn’t.
Moreover, cactus leather is also partially biodegradable, which is not the case with plastic, which typically ends up in a landfill in Malaysia or China after only a few years of use. This also implies that it is more durable than synthetic vegan leather; it has a minimum life of ten years.
Furthermore, this type of vegan leather is also more eco-friendly than real animal-skin leather. Firstly, animal-skin leather is treated with chromium in the tanning process. Chromium is a highly toxic substance that is a major pollutant in the environment. Cactus leather is developed or manufactured naturally, without involving hazardous chemicals that pollute water systems. It’s also common knowledge that raising cows contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere; however, cactus leather eliminates this worry entirely.
How Expensive is Cactus Leather?
The cost is slightly more expensive than that of animal leather but without the dead animal (an animal whose focus like ours is staying alive). Since most people are unaware of cactus leather, the demand for real leather is high, and the low cost/wear ratio makes it less expensive.
Since this vegan alternative is now in the development stages, it stands on the pricier end due to research and development costs. However, according to experts, once it is mass-produced, in time you’ll watch the price becoming more and more reasonable, signifying fashion at the lowest cost in a sustainable manner. The takeaway is that cactus leather is a more reasonable, safer and sustainable purchase than even a real leather handbag.
Benefits of Switching to Cactus Leather
There are pros and drawbacks, as with any other type of leather. The benefits, however, outweigh the drawbacks. Here are some arguments on why cactus leather as a raw material is a superior alternative to real and synthetic vegan leather:
1- Good Quality
Cactus leather has a smooth and velvety texture, more like any premium quality animal leather you would find at a brand. Moreover, this natural vegan leather is one of the most durable faux leathers in the market, which is necessary to make the product capable of competing in a market featuring plenty of animal leather and faux leathers.
Breathability is a desirable characteristic of clothing materials. Leather’s ability to wick moisture is crucial to get rid of sweat and bacteria. A major drawback of synthetic leathers is their lack of air circulation. Cactus leather’s skin is porous, allowing it to mimic real leather but with non toxic chemicals. It also mimics it in terms of moisture-wicking and breathability rather than plastic leathers.
When it comes to animal leather materials, when water hits it; it is quite damaging. When water absorbs into leather, it causes the substance to lose its oil, making it brittle and prone to cracking. Cactus leather, however, is water-resistant and can keep its quality for a long time with just minor wear and tear, making it a great alternative to animal leather accessories.
4- Various Design Options
Cactus material formed into a leather can practically be used for anything that traditional leather or faux leather can. This natural sustainable material is flexible and can be moulded into any shape. Because the finished product is more sustainable and has a lower carbon footprint than other leather alternatives, cactus leather may be used to make textile garments (jackets, shoes, purses, and belts), accessories, furniture, and even automotive interiors.
Cactus Leather Belts
We mentioned that one of the commonest advantages of switching to vegan cactus leather is that it offers various styling options. So, it’s time to show exactly how fashionable this plant-based leather can be! Artigiano Store offers the most attractive and stylish vegan leather belts made from cactus leather. Here are some great options cactus leather belt options you can order from Artigiano Store:
The Vegan Cactus Leather Classic Black Belt appears to be ordinary at first sight, just a strip of leather with a classic buckle. But it’s only when you get into the intricacies that you can truly appreciate the artistry at work. It uses high-quality cactus leather; the Vegan Cactus Leather Classic Black belt is cruelty-free and fashionable.
It comes with three buckle options: you can either silver rectangular shaped, a gold-coloured square-shaped or a dark-coloured square-shaped buckle on your classic black belt.
The Vegan Cactus Leather Green Belt is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind, high-quality vegan belt. It is trendy and constructed of nearly indestructible materials. Compared to other inexpensive leather belts, this vegan cactus leather belt’s microfiber construction makes it soft and durable, making it a better choice.
The exclusive ocoxal buckle is perfect for women searching for a stylish and comfortable belt that will survive daily wear and tear. It is the perfect functional piece in any wardrobe – the pine leaves buckle design gives it a chic look.
The Vegan Cactus Leather Nude Belt is a fantastic formal belt available in four different sizing options. This unisex belt is a terrific way to add variation to your wardrobe with a neutral accent. Like the Vegan Cactus Leather Green Belt, the Nude belt also features an oxocal pine leaf-shaped buckle, making it a stylish accent to even the simplest dress designs.
The Vegan Cactus Leather Classic Cognac Belt is a popular casual or everyday wear choice. This natural vegan leather belt is casual enough to wear every day yet sophisticated enough to dress up for work in a rush. The classic buckle provides a modern look to any work uniform and goes great with a pair of well-worn jeans.
The Vegan Cactus Leather Classic Green Belt is a fantastic fusion of simplicity, style, and durability, ideal for almost any occasion. Its subtle design and stylish buckle designs make it low-profile enough to work with your business dress if you work in an office. The strong construction also makes it suitable for more strenuous occupations. The leather is solid but flexible, with just enough give to allow a full range of motion. The Classic Green Belt is designed to endure the stresses of bending, lifting, twisting, and everything else it may encounter in the field.
The term “work belt” is a misconception because the Vegan Cactus Leather Classic Nude Belt from Artigiano is stylish enough to wear to the office with a pair of Chelsea boots, but the belt’s durability is unrivalled. This nude statement is more than just a beautiful example of the understated style; it’s also a great demonstration of the company’s creativity. This strong belt comprises non-toxic materials and will not strain or fracture. The Vegan Cactus Leather Classic Nude Belt is almost bombproof, thanks to its sturdy cactus leather construction and massive single prong buckle, as you’d expect from Artigiano Store.
Choosing vegan cactus belts over animal leather may be a foreign concept to some, but it is the preferred option for animal and environmental advocates. Cactus leather is an exceptional material that can replace many existing types of leather and synthetic leather substitutes on the market, such as PU and PVC leather. Because this durable fabric is also resistant to abrasion, you won’t have to worry about getting your bag dirty while carrying it around town all day and your belt fractured from everyday wear and tear.
Several fashion manufacturers are now using cactus leather, and many other brand owners may even jump on board as this innovative leather alternative becomes more widespread. While cactus leather is not a complete solution to eco-friendliness, it is a significant improvement over the plastic leather industry, which sells a not-so biodegradable product under the disguise of vegan items.
Perhaps you’re like us here at Cruelty Free Belts and are a little crazy about Vegan Leather Belts. If this is you, we recommend reading some of our related blog posts: “How to Make your own Vegan Leather Belt“, “The 10 Best Reasons Why a Genuine Leather Belt is Worse than a Vegan Leather Belt“, “Vegan Belts – the Ethical Real Leather Free Alternative“, “Vegan Belts make an Ethical Difference“, “Vegan Leather vs Real Leather – What’s the Best Option?“, “Non Leather Belt – the Cruelty Free Difference it Makes“, and “Are Vegan Leather Belts Better than Real Leather Belts?”
What makes cactus leather stand out as vegan leather?
The leather from cactus is tough and belongs to the category of natural vegan leather. There are spiky, flat-stemmed nopal cactus plants that grow primarily in hot, arid climates, including prickly pear cactus, also known as prickly pear. And because cacti are tough, rigid, thick, and pointed plants, the idea of them making leather seems absurd. Once properly treated, it becomes velvety, sturdy, and extremely durable, and it feels like genuine leather.
What are the benefits of using cactus leather?
This natural vegan leather makes the product capable of competing in a market with many animal types of leather and faux leathers since it is one of the most durable faux leathers you can buy. Even though the product competes in a market filled with animal leather and faux leather, this natural vegan leather is one of the most durable faux leathers on the market. Furthermore, Cactus leather is water-resistant and will continue to retain its quality with minimal wear and tear, making it an excellent alternative to animal leathers.
In what ways are cactus leathers now a popular option?
Leather substitutes such as PU and PVC leather can be replaced with cactus leather, which offers many advantages over existing leather. Due to this fabric's strong and durable structure, you won't need to worry about your bag getting dirty or your belt fraying from everyday use. Further, the plastic leather industry is also significantly improved over vegan items that sold not-so-biodegradable products.