Your Guide to Vegan Leather Alternatives

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Your Guide to Vegan Leather Alternatives 

The fashion industry is rapidly transforming as consumers are becoming increasingly aware and leaning towards sustainability. Well-renowned fashion brands are also stepping up their game towards focusing on cruelty-free production of items. Various items use leather.  some of them are fashion favourites such as leather jackets, leather bags or footwear such as leather boots. Unfortunately, leather production has not only ethical but also environmental implications. This is the reason behind an increasing quantity of individuals adapting vegan leather alternatives.

Your Guide to Vegan Leather Alternatives 

Animal Agriculture contributes to 18% of greenhouse emissions and this figure is projected to increase in the future. Animal cruelty is not only a violation of animal rights but is also contributing to environmental issues.

The good news for those embracing the vegan lifestyle is that technological advances have led to the development of new sustainable textiles. The growing popularity of veganism has pushed businesses towards developing cruelty-free and environment-friendly fabrics to cater to the vegan audience. Here are some great vegan leather alternatives for you:

Cork Leather

Cork leather is made from the bark of a cork oak tree. It is a sustainable way to get leather as the trees can be replanted easily. The barks are harvested very meticulously without damaging the tree and it can be harvested after every 9 years till the tree survives. The average lifetime of a cork oak tree is about 300 years. The cork leather is known for its durability in addition to being natural. Cork leather shares many of the same properties as normal leather and can be used to make a variety of items such as shoes, bags, jewellery, jackets, etc.

Pinatex (Pineapple Leather)

Pinatex, trademarked in the Philippines, is also referred to as pineapple leather. This material is made using the leaves of a pineapple plant. It uses the waste product that remains after pineapples are harvested and hence, it has a practical and economical use. No extra raw materials such as land, water or chemicals are required to grow this fabric. Pinatex is a very low-impact choice for fashion. It is also beneficial for farmers as it offers them an additional source of revenue, helping them increase their standard of living. Pineapple leather is considered durable and strong. It can be used for a variety of purposes, previously served by conventional leather. It can be used to produce bags, footwear, belts, clothing, and even car seats.

This material is a recent addition to the textile industry, so it might be difficult to come across it easily, but it’s a better choice than other textiles such as organic cotton shirts or even wool. However, many clothing brands are working on incorporating this in their fashion lines. Pinatex is, therefore, a very sustainable choice for vegan apparel.

Apple Leather

Your Guide to Vegan Leather Alternatives 

A luxury shoe brand called ‘Veerah’ has launched shoes made using a material called Appeel. This is a sustainable leather type made using apple peels. Organic apples are grown and harvested from an Italian orchard. These apples are peeled and juiced; the peels are then stored and later ground into a fine powder. This power is then used to created plant-based leather which is used to make shoes.

Mushroom Leather

A popular German brand ZVNDER has excelled at creating vegan leather using mushrooms. Mushrooms are harvested from a Romanian forest. They are then transformed into a suede-like material in a German Studio. This material is used to make items such as wallets, bags, sneakers, and hats.

Coconut Leather

Coconuts are also used to make vegan leather. Originating in Southern India, agricultural waste from the coconut industry is used in the production of ‘Malai,’ also referred to as coconut leather. An Indian company works with coconut farmers to gather coconut water that would otherwise be discarded as waste. This waste is used to feed the production of bacterial cellulose that creates this material. The leather produced is not only flexible but also durable and free from synthetics and chemicals. This material is used in the production of different bags, clutches, and footwear.


The most recent addition to the field of plant-based leather is a material called Mirum. It was introduced by Natural Fiber Welding in the USA. This material is created using substances and natural ingredients like cork, hemp, vegetable oil, and coconut to develop biodegradable composites. This mixture is compressed using a mould to develop the texture of leather. Mirum is considered as a very versatile alternative to leather that is completely cruelty-free. It can also be dyed and coloured using non-toxic mineral pigments. Many well-known brands have also given contracts for leather goods to Natural Fiber Welding due to its originality and similarity to conventional leather.


Even when buying vegan leather, you should beware of so-called vegan brands that endorse cruelty-free and sustainable products. However, a majority of them still use conventional leather that is a PVC product. PVC is a very toxic material that is used in the fashion industry. Not only is it non-biodegradable, but it also emits toxic gases into the environment. Additionally, it is gained from non-renewable petrochemical. PVC leather may be a cruelty-free and ethical choice but it surely isn’t a sustainable or environment-friendly option.

Those of you who genuinely care about making smart and sustainable wardrobe choices should avoid PVC leather and choose one of the options from above. Start making better choices by choosing vegan apparel rather than conventional ones. Stock up your closets with organic cotton shirts and Mirum leather jackets or bags!


Krystal Camilleri

Like most vegans, Vegan Scout founder Krystal Camilleri has an intense desire to empower humans to embrace a vegan lifestyle and create a cruelty-free, sustainable future.

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