Leather manufacturing is not always animal friendly and it can have a bad environmental impact. Vegan alternatives are mainly petroleum-based and toxic, and they don’t look or feel like real leather, and should be avoided. Vitrolab in California is making lab-grown leather. They take one cell from a live cow and “plant” it to grow. The harvest is lab-grown leather. Vitrolab claim to be able to make billions of square-meter lab-grown leather just from one single cell of a cow. The material can not yet be bought but Kering has recently invested in the company that is growing fast. MycoWorks is making mushroom-based mycelium cells that can be manipulated to look and feel like real leather. Hermes has partnered with the company and already developed some handbags of “leather” from mushroom cells. Its is important to know the origin of leather materials, since most leather used in the fashion industry is a by-product from the meat industry. While new technologies are interesting, we still encourage to use traceable leather that is a by-product from meat industry, from farms that work with regenerative farming practices that will have a positive impact on the soil and biodiversity. Traceability is crucial to also ensure animal welfare and the choice of tanning will also determine the environmental impact of the final products.
bergstrand material GUIDE ranking*
Lab-grown leather is still in its infancy and its impact still needs to be accurately assessed.
Ranking of this material is highly dependent on the sourcing. If considering using this material, we strongly recommend performing due diligence of suppliers and performing inspections of the supply chain.
* The Bergstrand Material Guide Ranking is only a guide. Our consultants can help with accurate assessments of your brand’s use of materials.