The fashion industry is constantly looking for more environmentally friendly alternatives since the textile industry is one of the most polluting in the world, and so experts have begun to look for new options to replace the use of animals in their garments and textiles.
In search of solutions to reduce their environmental impact, brands are gradually turning to recycle, less energy-intensive production processes, and organic materials. Fibers from certain fruits, such as pineapple, are increasingly sought after to avoid the use of materials that require chemical treatments and large amounts of water.
Apple Leather by Frumat
Apple Leather, or what is known as apple leather, is a material similar to animal-free vegan leather. The northern Italian company Frumat developed an ingenious and creative alternative based on plants to create leather that is not of animal origin, nor highly polluting like synthetic leather 100% polyurethane.
For several years now, a lot of food waste has become waste without a second chance, such as apples from the Tyrol region of northern Italy, known for its large production of apples for jams or juices.
However, the amount that is wasted in the "leftovers" of this fruit has made the company Frumat aware that the apple leftovers that would otherwise go to waste could be turned into new raw material. The apple waste that’s converted into juice is crushed and naturally dried to a fine powder in a sheet form in an environmentally friendly process. It is later mixed with other bio-contents and water-based PU to produce Apple Leather.
Apple leather goes through a process in which apple peels and leftovers are collected, achieving a much more useful purpose with minimal environmental impact. Let's also take into account that the production of apples is much less harmful, which makes it an incredible alternative in the fashion industry.
How Sustainable is it?
Apple leather is half synthetic and half bio-based. However, according to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) index, common leather such as cowhide is the third most polluting material in its production. Even synthetic polyurethane leather is less sustainable than apple leather.
Therefore, Apple Leather is the most environmentally friendly material than all of the above, because it requires fewer fossil fuels than either cowhide or synthetic leather. Apple production is much less harmful, making it a good alternative in the fashion industry.
It’s worth pointing out that 50% is still derived from fossil fuels, as it has a percentage of synthetic material. Which will not biodegrade, although most leather-like materials do not fully biodegrade either. It is an unavoidable effect, however, Apple Leather strives to leave a minimal footprint.
Which Brands Are Using it?
There are a variety of brands that already opt for the innovation of this material with a high-quality standard in the development of ethical supplies.
Tommy Hilfiger launched a collection of sneakers made from recycled materials, thus reducing the environmental impact left by other types of vegan leather. Tommy Hilfiger made more changes towards a more sustainable fashion and in its spring 2020 collection bets on sneakers, which replace leather with a biological alternative created from waste from the apple growing industry.
Using this new technology the firm presents two models for men and women, one in white and one in navy blue, with 24% apple fiber in the upper. The low-cut, simplistic style sneakers are composed of a recycled cotton lining and insole and a recycled rubber sole. This series of factors makes them the brand's most eco-friendly model.
As part of Tommy Hilfiger's parent company PVH's Fashion Forward strategy to source ethical materials, the group has outlined 15 priorities designed to reduce negative impacts to zero. These also include improving the lives of the one million people who make up its value chain, In addition to its organic cotton being certified Made In Green by OEKO-TEX®.
Elegant and simple, the Samara brand is characterized by the impeccable work done with this raw material. Created by Salima and Samara, two sisters who are committed to caring for the environment through fashion, they never stop looking for innovation in each new design of the brand's ecological and vegan handbags.
Most of the vegan leather is made from PVC. The brand tries to limit the use of PVC and they use PU, water-based PU and microfiber whenever they can, which are less toxic in their production. Samara is starting to set a trend with the new apple leather material, as they offer 100% sustainable fashion accessories with the skin of an apple, giving a vision that goes beyond a sustainable fashion product.