Traditional leather is a material that vegans give up. But what if there was an ethical, sustainable option?
Table of Contents
- Enter leaf leather.
- What is Leaf Leather?
- The Benefits of Plant Leather
- How to Care for Leaf Leather
- FAQs about leaf leather
- Leaf Leather’s Social Responsibility
- But leaf leather has no such problems!
- Concluding on Leaf Leather
Enter leaf leather.
Leaf Leathers are made from the leaves of trees in Southeast Asia. Namely, Thailand.
When these leaves fall off the tree they are sustainably collected by craftsmen who then make them into beautiful leaf leather wallets, handbags, and other accessories using traditional techniques.
In this article, we’re covering what leaf leather is, the benefits, how to care for it, and common questions about these high-quality handmade products.
What is Leaf Leather?
Leaf leather is made using the leaves of trees in Southeast Asia. The most popular type is from Thailand, which uses Teak tree leaves.
Rather than using animal skin, leaf leather is handcrafted using the leaves of trees. Some craftsmen will cut the leaves into shapes, then put them together with a glue to create different textures and designs. But the best quality leaf leather is created by laying and layering the leaves once they’re dyed.
Leaf leather is durable, water resistant, has a natural grainy texture that’s pleasingly tactile, and is completely vegan!
The leaf itself is made from cellulose, which means it’s biodegradable and eco-friendly.
Leaves are collected by hand without causing any harm to the tree or ecosystem – they simply fall off naturally when they’re fully grown. This makes leaf harvesting sustainable because there isn’t any negative impact on the environment as opposed to animal skin being harvested through killing an innocent animal for its fur or hide.
Most importantly in terms of sustainability, this practice is one of the most eco-friendly on the planet. But I’ll talk more about that in the next section.
The Benefits of Plant Leather
Leaf leather has many benefits that make it a sustainable alternative for the fashion industry:
- It can be made quickly (less than two weeks).
- It’s made from discarded materials.
- The production process is harmful chemical-free.
- There are no animal products, so the leather won’t have any negative impact on animals and their habitats.
- Unlike other vegan leathers, leaf leather has no unwanted chemical smell.
Leaf leather also has many benefits for everyday use:
- The material is waterproof and tear-resistant, meaning it can be used in various climates and for all types of activities.
- Leaf leather is durable. Unlike the leaves in your backyard, these are preserved using a nontoxic biofilm, which ensures its longevity.
- Leaf leather is soft to the touch, so it won’t irritate sensitive skin or scratch delicate surfaces.
- It has a natural matte finish that looks luxurious yet not over-the-top.
How to Care for Leaf Leather
Caring for leaf leather is quite simple. To keep it clean, all you need to do is wipe down the surface with a damp rag.
Leaf leather should also be wiped down with natural soap solution every now and then to keep it in pristine condition for longer.
FAQs about leaf leather
How is leaf leather made?
Leaf leather involves gathering Teak leaves, soaking them in water, dying them, and placing them flat together to dry. Once the leaves bond to each other, they form a big sheet of leaf leather material.
Then, the leaf leather is attached to cotton fabric to give a soft interior and structure it better. Once the cotton is attached, a thin translucent non-toxic biofilm is used to add even more protection. This makes the leaf leather stronger and waterproof.
What’s the ethics behind leaf leather production?
Leaf leather is incredibly ethical. The craftsmen are paid fair wages, and the products are made without hurting animals or their habitats.
It’s also quite eco-friendly, because the production doesn’t cause any significant amount of carbon emissions.
Leaves are a renewable and sustainable resource that is biodegradable, so there’s no need to worry about disposal or sustainability concerns as with leather products!
The leaves can be collected year-round from trees in Southeast Asia without hurting those forests. They also don’t require using chemicals like tannins, which usually come from tree bark (instead they use natural dye).
Leaf leather is more breathable than traditional materials such as cardboard or foam, but it still provides protection because water just runs off it when wet rather than soaking into the material. Leaf leathers have an aesthetic appeal similar to finished animal skins and you can wash them by hand, ensuring they last a life time!
How Strong is Leaf Leather?
Leaf leather is actually quite durable. The nontoxic biofilm makes it much stronger than the natural leaves alone, and since these products are made in craft batches, they’re never created with planned obsolescence.
Leaf Leather’s Social Responsibility
Leaf leather is a socially responsible material. Rather than using harmful chemicals and dyes, these materials are created with sustainable, eco-friendly practices leading the way.
Traditional leathers are damaging to the environment. But other vegan leather options can be equally devastating.
For example, faux leather can be made from petroleum-based plastics that take years to decompose.
But leaf leather has no such problems!
Leaf Leather is a material with all the benefits of traditional animal skins without any of the downsides or ethical dilemmas.
This allows for an easy transition into this new, sustainable option and will truly change not just your attitude about veganism but how you think about fashion in general.
If you’d rather not invest in fashion that’s hurting animals, leaf leather is an excellent choice. Instead of pain and suffering, you’ll be supporting eco-friendly, sustainable practices – and the craftsmen that dedicate their lives to them.
Perhaps these are some reasons why more people are choosing it as their go-to alternative? One of which is the aesthetic.
The natural beauty of leaf leather supports nature lovers, too. With a natural leaf pattern embedded in this material, the great outdoors is infused in all products crafted from it.
Concluding on Leaf Leather
Leaf leather is one of the most sustainable materials on the planet. If you’re committed to veganism, love animals, want to explore eco-friendly alternatives to traditional leather, give this material a try.
Millions of people globally are committing to leaf leather products, and with so many apparent benefits, it’s not hard to see why! Keep this material in mind the next time you’re shopping for wallets, handbags, and other accessories.