New market research from India-based Infinium Global predicts a tremendous increase in the vegan leather market. Between 2019 and 2025, vegan leather sales are expected to rise by nearly 50 percent each coming year. According to Infinium, the vegan leather market will be worth nearly $90 billion by 2025!
The main factors behind the growing demand for animal-free leather are both consumer and corporate concerns over the environmental impact and animal welfare issues associated with traditional leather made from animal skins.
It’s Not Just Shoes
Though footwear is probably the first thing we think of with respect to vegan leather sales, furniture, interior design, garments, and luxury goods are also driving the booming growth.
The automotive industry is also a key player. In June of last year, Tesla announced that its Model 3 and upcoming Model Y cars will feature all-synthetic leather.
Audi, Volvo, and BMW also got in on the trend, revealing their intention to use vegan leather in current and future models. And six-time Formula One World Champion and ethical vegan Lewis Hamilton is in talks with Mercedes to veganize their fleet.
From fast-fashion labels like H&M, to major furniture retailers like West Elm, lines featuring vegan leather are showing up literally everywhere.
From PVC to Pineapples
Though many associate synthetic leather with the PVC of years past, today’s animal-free leather is made from a variety materials, including sustainable plant-based options that also further reduce the environmental impact of these products.
Two Mexican entrepreneurs, Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez, the duo behind Desserto, a company that fashions leather from cactus, have been nominated for Germany’s Green Product Award. H&M has used pineapple leather in their lines, as well as leather made from “wine waste.” Apple and mushroom leather are also coming to market.
Whose Skin Are You In?
The misconception that leather is just a byproduct of the meat industry is truly unfortunate. The reality is that leather not only comes from cows, it is also made from horses, goats, kangaroos, and even dogs. Also, because shoes and garments are not labeled, it’s impossible to know for sure what animal you’re wearing. One thing is for sure though, all those animals suffered horribly.
A few years back, fashion icon Stella McCartney recorded the below PSA exposing the horrendous animal cruelty and environmental degradation that runs rampant in the leather industry. If you’re unfamiliar with this issue, give it a watch.
Main image via VeganClub.co