Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez are the creators behind vegan leather company Desserto. ‘Desserto’ is the name given to the plant-based vegan leather made with nopal, the type of cactus the Mexican-based company uses for vegan leather to produce handbags, footwear, and clothing.
From traditional leather, to making vegan leather
Lopex had worked with traditional leather in the auto industry, while Cazarez worked with leather in the fashion industry and both saw the impact the material had on the environment. The cows used to produce the leather drink up to 18,000 gallons of water a year while tanning the leather requires even more water as well. Cow leather is also treated with toxic chemicals – which are also bad for the environment and makes it non-biodegradable. The pair saw the impact and decided to make a change.
The pair decided on using cacti as it is readily available in Mexico, it does not require a lot of water to produce it, and it absorbs carbon dioxide in the air, making it suitable for the environment.
The process is far more environmentally friendly
The process behind making the vegan leather is: the mature leaves are cut from the cacti, it is then cleaned, mashed, and dried for three days. After this, it is then mixed with non-toxic chemicals and then shape it into any texture or colour desired. This method and using nopal ensures that fewer cows are harmed in the process, and the leather will be organic. Desserto is also biodegradable and will last for up to 10 years. It is also flexible, breathable, does not stain, and it costs the same amount as animal leather.
The company built a network to produce more and more vegan leather, and they hope to expand their product range and make accessories, furniture, and even leather seats for cars.