A field of cereal crops

What is Vegan Leather?

When we say that all our shoes and accessories are sustainable and vegan, we mean it. At Oh My Vegan! we’ve partnered with the best brands to bring you sustainably sourced, cruelty free products.

But you might be wondering what our faux leather is made from. There’s an amazing amount of innovation and technology happening in creating products that aren’t made from animal leather. Here are some examples.

What is vegan leather made from?

Plant-based leather can be made in a variety of ways. Our supplier, Will’s has a unique process that takes bio oil - the by-product of organic cereal harvesting - and turns that into a material that is similar to animal leather. Most Will’s products use a mix of bio-oil leather and viscose - a natural material from eucalyptus trees - blended together. There’s still some polyurethane in the mix, that does mean the shoes contain some plastic and the hunt is on for a more sustainable alternative to polyurethane, which would leave the shoes plastic-free. However, the amazing process of turning organic cereal crops via bio oil into leather is a huge leap for cruelty-free leather and it feels soft, luxurious and hard wearing.

Other types of faux leather

Cork is used in some of our products from Nae. Cork is a great material, that’s 100% natural and sustainable. Cork farming has a negative carbon footprint as the trees are so good for the environment. Used in footwear, the material is waterproof, soft and durable.

Corn, and by-products from corn harvesting can also be used to broken down to their basic fibres and turned into a material like leather. It’s incredible what people can do with plants.

Other vegan leather can be created from a mixture of cotton and recycled polyester and nylon, so while this type of vegan leather uses some plastics, where possible they are recycled and this leather is cruelty free in having no animal products in it.

Similarly, most vegan suede shoes in our store comes from recycled polyester and PET plastics. While we can all recognise that decreasing plastic in the environment is essential, using recycled and some virgin plastics, over animal leather does reduce the energy needed to produce the material by some 80%. Typically, vegan suede lasts longer than traditional suede too in footwear, meaning that waste is reduced by buying less.

What is Piñatex?

Another, rather miraculous, plant-based solution is Piñatex, also known as pineapple leather. Piñatex is made from pineapple leaf fibres. In pineapple production, those tough leaves that stick out the top and usually always thrown away, are processed to make this incredibly strong fabric. Our suppliers that use Piñatex are Nae and Momoc, and the pineapple farms that they work with are benefitting from a whole new income stream from what would usually be a waste product.

So there you have it, vegan leather can be one of many things. There are lots of innovations still happening to make ever better vegan leathers, that are carbon neutral and using no plastic or virgin plastic.


Image credit: Tomasz Filipek on Unsplash