Discover this amazing Plant Based alternative to Leather that Launched in 2019
VEGAN CACTUS LEATHER | Photo Credit: Desserto
Innovation | Quality | Environmental Awareness | DESSERTO | Vegan Leather
Desserto is a unique & exclusive sustainable material made of cactus that we saw enter the market in 2019. Launched at Linepelle, Desserto's new material was met with overwhelming enthusiasm and was noted due to its flexibility, softness, handle and colours it is a perfect choice for the luxury markets.
Two weeks later we had the pleasure of being the second event globally to present Desserto's new cactus leather to the fashion and textile industries within the Asia Pacific Region. We saw equal enthusiasm at RawAssembly in Melbourne, where a few of the leading Australian brands, including KitX loved what they saw. Desserto received immediate enquires about their materials, with brands wanting to start using it within their next collections as a great alternative to their current leather products.
Unlike other leather alternatives on the market, Desserto's material has a smooth leather-like finish and is able to be produced using a natural cotton backing.
The team at Desserto's mission is to be at the forefront of innovation, going beyond the needs of the leather goods market, offering high-quality materials made with sustainable alternatives. Their aim was to create a cruelty-free, sustainable alternative, without any toxic chemicals, phthalates and PVC. The result, Cactus Leather, is partially biodegradable as it contains a reduced amount of PU in its resin finish. It has a great tensile strength, customizable thickness, flexibility, personalized textures, is easy to clean, environmentally-friendly and has a low water use to grow their materials.
We are excited to see brands around the world start to work with Desserto on their collections in 2020/2021
Video Credit: Desserto Nopal leather: from concept to reality
Fashion United's Christin Parcerisa based in Mexico interviewed Adrián Löpez Velardeof Adriano Di Marti, Desserto, who told Christin the story behind this vegan leather, its features and where this sustainable venture is headed.
How did you think of cactus-based vegan leather?
I had the idea after working first in the furniture and later in the automotive industry and Marte Cázarez in the fashion industry, where we identified that the problem of environmental pollution was serious. As a result, we were genuinely interested in reducing environmental impact, so we decided to leave our jobs and start Adriano Di Marti, a company to focus on developing Desserto, which nowadays is known as cactus or nopal vegan leather.
Why did you choose cactus or nopal as the main raw material?
The idea of using this raw material was conceived because this plant does not need any water to grow, and there is plenty of it throughout the Mexican Republic. Also, symbolically, it represents all of us Mexicans and everybody knows it. Besides, to be able to incorporate this material to various industries, it is essential to count on a stable, abundant supply of raw material. We currently have 2 hectares where we cultivate nopals, as well as an expansion capacity of 40 hectares. Regarding production capacity, we have 500,000 linear meters a month.
What made you think that nopal could be a good alternative for animal leather?
After two years of research and development we managed to produce a suitable material that complies with the features and technical/mechanical specifications required by those industries that use animal or synthetic leather; also, thanks to its organic composition, it is breathable, which makes cactus or nopal vegan leather similar to animal leather.
An expert at Lineapelle said that our cactus leather is most appropriate for use in the luxury segment thanks to its flexibility, softness, touch and color
Adrián López Velarde, vice presidente de Adriano Di Marti
What was your experience at Lineapelle? How was this product received?
The enthusiasm for our Desserto sustainable materials at Lineapelle was overwhelming. We didn’t expect such interest from so many different industries and designers from around the globe. Among so many congratulations and positive comments, it is worth noting that a Lineapelle presenter in the innovation and sustainability forum said that out of all sustainable materials in the fair, ours was the most appropriate for use in luxury brands thanks to its flexibility, softness, touch and color.
At what point in time is your company now?
Our company is already working in big projects with major groups in different industries, and we already have a reaction capacity to make them come to fruition. However, our research and development has not finished yet, because even though our material is already suitable for marketing and is highly sustainable, we understand that innovation is the driving force of every company seeking to ensure its future.
'The time has come to start doing things in a different way.'
Photo Credit: Desserto
What is cactus leather like? What’s the difference with animal leather?
Desserto is a highly sustainable material, and its environmental footprint is not as big as animal leather. There is no intensive use of water and it is free of phthalates, toxic chemicals and PVC. Also, its flexibility may result in production savings because it boosts the productivity of the production lines using it, and it is also a material offering touch and softness that is very similar to animal leather.
In your opinion, how does the industry view this sustainable leather alternative?
It’s the right time to offer this alternative, because not only are consumer industries interested in new materials like these but also more and more end-consumers are demanding environmentally friendly materials.
After our launch in Milan, we corroborated that the European market is absolutely ready to incorporate this material into its production lines. And companies in our own region are not staying behind. We have been in close contact with different high-profile companies in neighbouring countries, with whom we are working on very interesting projects.
What would be the main challenges you are facing?
The biggest challenge we have encountered is finding a way to make our materials accessible for small and medium-sized companies because sometimes minimum purchase quantities are a barrier for them. This is why we always try to have an inventory so they can buy small quantities, and we are also working with potential suppliers who can make our materials available for everyone.
Photo Credit: RawAssembly | Clare Press, Vogue Australia's Sustainability editor & Kit Willow, Founder, Kit X
Photo Credit: Desserto & RawAssembly
What are your recommendations for manufacturers so they can start using this material?
As our material is highly sustainable and cost-competitive, and it complies with required specifications, it is an alternative that offers a win-win scenario. They will not only benefit from developing a high-quality, sustainable range, but they will also have a competitive edge: they will contribute to caring for the environment and they will meet the growing end-consumers’ demand of using environmentally friendly materials.
How much of a positive impact on the environment can it have?
The positive impact on the environment that our materials can have if incorporated into major production lines of the different industries mentioned before may result in a 32 to 42 per cent reduction in plastic waste, depending on the version of our materials that is incorporated, and about 20 per cent savings in water consumption. Currently, the volume used by the fashion industry alone is huge, almost 79 billion cubic meters, which is enough to fill almost 32 million Olympic-size swimming pools. If you assess the value for the world economy of the additional 39 billion cubic meters expected to be used annually by 2030, the result is 32 billion euro at stake yearly. This is the potential benefit for the world economy if the fashion industry can find ways to prevent water consumption from increasing further.
Concerning waste, currently, mankind produces 2,100 million tons of waste yearly. In terms of the annual ecological footprint, the world population already produces more than 1.6 what the earth is able to absorb in the same period of time. Considering today’s solid waste during production and at the end of useful life, industry waste will increase by about 60 percent between 2015 and 2030, and 57 million tons of waste will be additionally generated yearly. This raises the overall fashion waste to 148 million tons by 2030, which equals an annual waste of 17.5 kg per capita all over the world.
This is the size of the benefits our innovations can provide on a large scale. This is easier said than done. However, we are convinced that it is, by all means, possible that change may take place shortly. The fashion industry has inherent advantages such as creativity, its most iconic trait. With the support of technologies and innovations, fashion has the talent, the networks, the financing and all the resources needed for transformation. The time has come to start doing things in a different way.
Photo Credit: Desserto
Fashion United: Written by Christin Parcerisa