Innovation in the fashion industry is uncovering sustainable processes of obtaining leather for fashion products. One of the most recent of these is 'vegetable leather', the result of turning fruit and vegetable waste into a quality leather substitute. This material could ideally replace animal leather used for clothes, handbags, shoes, accessories and more.

The idea came about in an attempt to solve the issue of excessive food waste in the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands. There alone, the city discards over 3500 kilograms of overripe or cosmetically unattractive produce each day. To address this, students from Willem de Kooning Academie developed a method of creating a leather-like material from fruit and vegetable waste. The process was taken from that of drying fruit for consumption but in a way that would be more durable and transferable to leather replacement.

Some of their first products included a handbag made from mangoes, a shopping bag from nectarines and a lamp shade from pulped peaches. The students are still in the process of measuring the strength and durability of the fruit leather, but can see the product becoming an adequate animal leather alternative. A great message that comes with the vegetable leather is that food isn't trash, it just needs to be repurposed. It's just another great project towards sustainability through recycling and upcycling.

Empire of Bees are always on the lookout for more sustainable production methods. Follow our blog for information about our products, values and innovation in the fashion industry.

References

Ecouterre 2015, 'Rotterdam students turn fruit vegetable waste into durable leather', viewed online 17 September, http://www.ecouterre.com/rotterdam-students-turn-fruit-vegetable-waste-into-durable-leather/rotterdam-fruit-leather-1/?extend=1