Two Entrepreneurs From Mexico Found A Way To Make Vegan Leather Out Of Cactus Leaves

As one of the world’s most traded products, leather is part of a booming $80 billion industry. But, its use of animal products and harsh chemicals makes leather problematic not only for animal rights activists but environmentalists. Luckily, two entrepreneurs from Mexico have worked to find a leather alternative that is not only eco-friendly but has the look and feel of real leather. So what are they using to make their faux-leather? The answer might surprise you.

López Velarde and Marte Cázarez developed a method of transforming cactus into vegan leather that looks and feels exactly like the real thing.

More info: desserto.com.mx | Instagram | Facebook | twitter.com

Image credits: desserto.pelle

“This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet”—Barack Obama once said. Even though saving the planet can sound like a huge and quite vague concept, there’s always a small step that each of us can take. Though some people prefer going big (and not going home).

And when they do so, they manage to invent something entirely innovative that leaves the rest of us totally fascinated. We’re talking about two entrepreneurs from México—Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez—who developed a method of transforming cacti into vegan leather that looks and feels exactly like the real thing.

Although it took them two years of research and development to design the fabric, they perfected its manufacturing process in July and debuted it to the fashion world in Milan, Italy back in October 2019.

Image credits: desserto.pelle

The entrepreneurs realized the environmental impact of animal leather after they both spent years working in the furniture, automotive, and fashion industries. Upon quitting their jobs, they co-founded Adriano Di Marti to design their innovative leather replacement.

Their patented “Desserto” fabric is made out of cactus leaves that are harvested sustainably every 6 to 8 months. The material is designed to breathe easily while still being durable and partially biodegradable.

In addition to the cactus-based material also requiring a minimal amount of water to develop, it is grown organically in the state of Zacatecas.

The material, which has been made available in a variety of colors using natural dyes, has now been used to make everything from bags and automotive seating to shoes and jackets.

Image credits: desserto.pelle

The Environmental Impact Of Leather

The environment motivated López Velarde and Cázarez to make cruelty-free leather. “We identified that the problem of environmental pollution was serious,” López Velarde told FashionUnited.

Tanners treat animal-based leather with 250 different substances, including formaldehyde, cyanide, arsenic, and chromium. These substances enter waterways — polluting oceans and marine life — and raise the risk of disease for local communities.

Raising livestock — for food or for their skins — generates large amounts of emissions. Livestock rearing accounts for 14.5 percent of all anthropologic greenhouse gas emissions.

The pair opted for cactus due to its sustainability. “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,” López Velarde explained. “Also, symbolically, it represents all of us Mexicans and everybody knows it.”

Companies that incorporate plant-based leather into their work could lower water consumption by 20 percent.

“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,” López Velarde explained.

The vegan leather also helps reduce plastic waste by 32 to 42 percent.

The vegan leather these guys create is called “Desserto” and it’s the world’s first environmentally friendly organic material made out of Nopal cactus.

Image credits: desserto.pelle

The Vegan Leather Boom

More companies are crafting cruelty-free leather. Footwear brand No Saints turns food waste into vegan leather sneakers. The company uses Piñatex — a plant-based leather made from pineapple leaf fibers — as well as apple peels.

Porsche’s new Taycan electric car can be ordered with a vegan leather interior. Porsche uses recycled polyester fibers to make the material. It requires 80 percent less CO2 to produce than its animal-based counterpart.

This material is considered to be highly sustainable and without any toxic chemicals. Besides, the company offers a large variety of colors, thicknesses, and textures.

Image credits: desserto.pelle

Adrian and Marte grow their cactus in a ranch which is located in the state of Zacatecas.

Image credits: desserto.pelle

First of all, they find and cut mature leaves of the plant, clean it, mash it, then dry it under the sun for three days, after that they proceed to process it so the material can later become a part of their patented vegan leather formula.

Image credits: desserto.pelle

One of the best things about this vegan material is that it looks and feels exactly like real leather. It’s elastic, breathable, and highly customizable. Anything, that can be made out of classic leather can also be made out of the “Desserto” vegan leather.

Image credits: desserto.pelle

Image credits: desserto.pelle

Image credits: desserto.pelle

People on the Internet seem to really like this idea

20 Incredible Images of the Olympics’ Athletes That Show What the Human Body Is Capable of

Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been the topic of the internet recently. Even though there was a delay due to Covid, a lot of athletes were in excellent shape to bring golden medals to their countries. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games launched on Friday 23 July with the opening ceremony, although the sporting action actually kicked off a couple of days earlier. It all comes to an end on Sunday 8 August, with the Olympics officially lasting a total of 17 days.

I can’t even imagine the joy one experiences when they have that gold medal around their neck. All the hard work, the sacrifice pay off in the best way possible. And this is not just a personal win, you’re representing a whole country that has its eyes on you in that moment of competition.

What we see on the TV are just the results of a long preparation. If the athlete wins we are proud, if they lose, we are quick to judge. However, today we want to give you the real image of what happens behind the scenes. There are a lot of things these athletes go through in order to achieve that shape and get qualified for the Olympics. Therefore, today we are bringing some of that footage that often goes unseen. Scroll down below to check it out. And let us know what you think of this year’s Olympic games.

1. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz became the first Olympic gold medalist for the Philippines

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2. 8 F**king times in Olympics. Take a bow

3. This was Canadian Mark McMorris 11 months ago. Today he is an Olympic Bronze medalist. Amazing.

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4. Feet from Dutch Olympic swimming champion Maarten Van der Weijden after swimming 163 km/101 mi in 55 hours to raise money for cancer research

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5. After sixteen stages in Tour de France I think my legs look little tired

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6. In 2009 J.R. Celski sliced through his entire left quadriceps with his right skate blade at the U.S. Olympic trials

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My first major sports injury happened at the 2010 U.S. Short Track Speed Skating Olympic Trials. It was the competition I had to do well at in order to secure a spot on my first Olympic team. The fall happened in one of the last races of the competition, the 500 meters, known for absolute top speed. I fell in the corner and put the front six inches of my blade straight into my quad. I bounced off the pads with the blade still in my leg, looked down, and had to pull it out myself because of the awkward position that I was in.

I completely severed the VMO “teardrop muscle” and luckily barely missed the femoral artery which might’ve been the end. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever gone through, especially because in the moments after, I started realizing that I might not be able to achieve the goal I set out for in the first place. If not for the people around me including my family, friends, and medical staff, I wouldn’t have been able to get back on my feet, especially in time to go to the Olympics and win two medals.

7. The Difference Between Gold and Silver in the 15km mass start Biathlon

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8. I Was Born With A Condition: Pectus Excavatum. Which I Know Sounds Like A Harry Potter Spell. My Deformity Began Appearing Around Age 10

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My name is Cody Miller. I am not a typical Olympic swimmer. Like most sports the taller you are the better… Most swimmers are incredibly tall, well above 6ft… I’m 5’11 and only weigh 170lbs. More often than not, I’m the smallest person in the pool.

My condition puts stress on my respiratory system. Tests have shown that my sunken sternum and odd placement of other bones have caused a reduced lung capacity… To what extent is unknown. Doctors have said my maximum breathing capacity is likely reduced by 12-20%. Also… I’m diagnosed as asthmatic… Which I learned, from studies run on me in college, has nothing to do with my pectus condition. I live with difficult circumstances as a swimmer. Despite my disadvantages, I’ve dedicated my life to swimming… And I’ve never given up. Like a lot of you, I have struggled with body image problems throughout my life. I struggled with my appearance from a young age. I was a kid who was afraid to take off his shirt in gym class… people thought I was weird. At swim meets, I walked around the pool deck awkwardly while people stared and pointed at me.

I was weird and abnormal… However, I’ve realized this: No one is 100% satisfied with the way they look. Everyone has something about themselves they dislike. And that’s OK! Professional athletes, models… everyone has their own insecurities! I’ve embraced the fact that I have a giant hole in my chest! It’s OK! Monday night. June 27th, 2016 in Omaha Nebraska. USA Swimming Olympic Trials took place at the CenturyLink Center live on NBC, in front of a crowd of 17,500 people, I swam in lane 5 of the Finals of the men’s 100-meter breaststroke.

Only 2 athletes per event qualify for the Olympic Games. 2 swimmers to represent the U.S.A in the 100-meter breaststroke… I’d been dreaming about this moment my entire life. One wrong move and it’s over… The pressure of a lifelong dream… Years and years of training. Thousands and thousands of hours of preparation for a race that lasts 59 seconds… 2 lengths of the pool… 1 start… 1 turn… 1 finish… 1 moment… 1 opportunity… I did it… The feeling is still indescribable… I qualified for the Rio Olympics. My new Olympic teammate and I hug. Seeing the Olympic rings next to my name… I try not to cry… I did… like a baby…

9. Never forget that Australia’s first ever winter olympics gold was won because the guy was coming dead last and everyone in front of him fell over.

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10. Team USA Basketball Player Deandre Jordan (6’11”) and Gymnast Ragan Smith (4’6″)

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11. An x-ray of a gymnast performing an exercise

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12. Leg muscles of the first perfect 10 in olympic history, at age 14. Nadia Comaneci

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13. Ex-World Champion Cyclist Janez Brajkovic Leg After A Race

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14. The hands of Olympic swimming champion van der Weijden after a 163km swim

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15. Hungarian weightlifter Janos Baranyai’s right arm gave, ripping apart ligaments and muscle under the weight

He pushed himself to lift 148 kilograms (326.3 pounds) during the men’s 77kg weightlifting competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

16. Acrobatic Gymnastics Elite And Level 10 Training Camp At Karolyis Olympic Training Site

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17. USA Men’s Volleyball Player David Lee 6’8″ and USA Gymnast Simone Biles 4’8″

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18. Anyone want to hold my hand

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19. Verified on the eve of US nationals

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20. When you spend every day on a bike vs. When you retire and ride casually

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