How our Vegan Leather Bags are Actually Sustainable

We're introducing our most innovative and sustainable accessories collection yet this week! We're launching our brand new plastic-free vegan leather bag collection on 10/20/22 and we couldn't be more excited.

What is our vegan leather made from?

To be clear, our new bags are made of vegan material (technically), but not like the vegan leathers that most consumers know about. Since almost all vegan leathers are made with plastic content (read more below), we didn't want to settle until we found a biodegradable, sustainable vegan leather option. We searched high and low for an animal-free, plastic-free vegan leather-alternative that aligned with our ethical standards, but it felt too good to be true. That is, until Mirum by Natural Fiber Welding swooped in. Read more below for more information on our material and plant leather products.

What is traditional vegan leather made of? Is vegan leather actually sustainable?

Prior to this decade, really, the only term the market used for non-animal leather was faux leather. Vegan leather is a more recently developed and marketed term to describe leather-like material made without animals. However, faux leather gives off a cheesy and cheap vibe, and thus the market found a new term to capture mostly vegan lifestyle consumers.

These days, vegan leather manufacturers have been getting very innovative and using pineapples, mangoes, apples, cacti, and grapes to make leather-like material from natural materials. HOWEVER, many of these companies are not very transparent about the fact that most (if not all) of these "natural vegan leather" materials are not plastic-free. We were excited Cactus Leather - a vegan leather made in Mexico from Cacti. However, after much research and digging, we learned that the company we were sourcing sample material from was not being very transparent about the amount of plastic content in the material, and therefore, it wasn't 100% biodegradable. We also looked into leather made from pineapple leaf fibres until we learned that it, too, had plastic content.

Many don't know this (because it's not very transparent in the traditional vegan leather industry), but nearly ever vegan leather on the market uses between 30-80% amount of plastic content, and producing these products typically involves solvents, plasticizers, or other processing chemicals. Vegan leather is marketed as kind to animals and the planet, but really, it's often harmful to the environment and non biodegradable.

We're grateful to have found this amazing faux leather material that's not only kind to animals but also kind to the environment.

Our unisex leather-alternative collection is:

  • Plant-based leather made from agricultural waste
  • Plastic-free (which is very rare in the vegan leather world)
  • Non-animal, cruelty-free
  • Zero waste and circular -- any waste after product cutting is collected and shipped back to Natural Fiber Welding to be recycled and turned into new material
  • Material is made in Illinois
  • Our plastic-free vegan leather bags are cut and sewn locally - made in kansas city - by Madison Stitch. As always, we pay a living wage to all sewers and every member of our team.
  • Limited quantities, available only for a limited time

Shop the collection starting on 10/20/22.

October 15, 2022 — Team MADI

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