Genuine leather is made of animal skin that has been treated with a tannin derived from a plant or tree, a mineral or fat. The collagen fibers, which form the basic material of each skin, contain a lot of water. By tanning, all this water is replaced by the tannin molecules in order to prevent the skin from decay. As a result the skin transforms into a durable, water resistant, water repellant and flexible material which can be finished in every conceivable way and used in products we are dealing with every day.
Sustainable, innovative materials
A huge disadvantage of leather is the environmental impact of the leather industry. Because of the need to reduce the carbon footprint of products that are traditionally made of leather, all over the world scientists, artists and designers are exploring the possibillities of developing sustainable innovative materials that have the look and feel of genuine leather. A goal that, due to the incomparable characteristics of genuine leather, is not very easy to achieve.
Piñatex + pineapple shoes
A relatively new material is Piñatex. Piñatex is made of pineapple leaves which are basically a by-product of the pineapple harvest. Technically it’s a nonwoven textile but because of its characteristics and its appearance it’s often referred to as pineapple leather. Pineapple fibers are extremely strong. The application possibilities range from clothing, shoes and upholstery to wigs and V-belts for, for example, conveyor belts. They can also serve as reinforcement for concrete.
Photo 1) Bourgeois Boheme
Photo 2) Tooche [ more about Tooche ]
Photo 4) Rombaut