Everything You Need To Know About Vegan Leather & Vegan Leather Brands
A lot of people do not fully understand vegan leather, often asking “what is vegan leather” – Vegan leather is what you might call faux leather or an alternative to leather although there is a distinct difference between faux leather and vegan leather. As early as 2018, a rise in search volume for fashion products that are labeled “vegan” grew by over 70% in the United Kindom and in the United States alone. Now traditionally leather is made from the skins of animals. Vegan leather isn’t made this way, it’s made from various bits and pieces of plant and plastic material.
And though vegan leather is an ethical and sustainable innovation, making it can be quite costly compared to traditional methods for making leather – this is exactly why Melie Bianco came to be. which will all be explained in detail later on in this article and how Melie Bianco and other vegan leather brands are making a difference in the industry long dominated by leather made with animal skin.
This article will have everything you need to know about vegan leather, the history of vegan leather, the best vegan leather brands, what their ethical standards are, are they even sustainable, how are vegan leather products made, vegan handbags, who Melie Bianco is, how many different kinds of vegan leather products are available, informed purchasing decisions and so much more.
Vegan Leather Brands That Are Making a Difference
Vegea: an Italian tech startup is focusing its efforts on producing vegan leather products from harnessing marc which is a grape’s core and shell. With over 26 billion liters (6.9 billion gallons) of wine being produced every year, 18% of that is in Italy – Vegea wants to produce a sustainable, alternative solution to the billions of square meters of marc or wine leather not being cultivated.
Beyond Skin: is a vegan shoe retailer that uses Polyurethane or PU (PU is biodegradable) as part of their vegan leather making process which produces a feel similar to traditional leather and because they’re within the European Union – they must follow the European Union’s strict environmental guidelines.
Melie Bianco: one of the most ethical, cruelty-free vegan leather brands in the industry. Launched in 2003 by Melissa and her husband William, they made vegan leather products that maintain its elegant quality while making it affordable for their customers, unlike other vegan leather brands.
Melie Bianco: affordable luxury
One of the best vegan leather brands in the industry
Today’s vegan fashion brands are designed and process way better than before – vegan leather brands like Melie Bianco. Melie Bianco is known in the industry to be one of the most ethically conscious and environmentally conscious manufacturers of our time; using only materials such as PU to manufacture high-end products with craft and creativity.
Launched in 2003, by Melissa Song and her husband William, their vision is to bring major fashion brands to design trends that conscious or vegan consumers want – Melie Bianco designs have appeared in several big fashion magazines such as Vogue, Instyle, Self, Glamour, People Style Watch, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, and Elle Melie Bianco’s main market is women who want a luxurious fashion brand without paying an exuberate amount – affordable luxury.
Melie Bianco has embraced affordable luxury to levels other vegan leather brands cannot simply compete with. Melie Bianco is hit with Los Angeles celebrities and no wonder! Melie Bianco’s styles and quality reflect the elegance of Celine, Balenciaga, and Miu Miu fashion brands except without the animal cruelty and without the very expensive price tag; their products and designs reflect not only seasonal trends but those who want affordable luxury and of all sizes.
In 2015, Melie Bianco received “Best Animal-Friendly Accessories” a Vegan Fashion Award by PETA UK – this award is given to celebrate businesses who have proven that their business practices are ethical and absolutely animal cruelty-free.
What Makes Melie Bianco Different:
Highly Ethical: Melie Bianco believes in being eco-friendly, free from animal cruelty, and work with small vendors all without sacrificing quality, work, and affordable luxury.
Sweatshop Free: Melie Bianco operates a Profit Sharing Model, which means, we invest in our workers, our suppliers, our factor, and everyone who is involved in producing Melie Bianco products or in simpler words, they grow, we grow, we all grow together. Melie Bianco knows the names of all the people they work with and provides fair gender-equal work opportunities, paid vacations, and even works with small vendors.
Reputable & Credible: Melie Bianco has been featured magazines like Oprah Magazine, Vogue, Elle, Marie Clarie, and many more. Melie Bianco has even been featured in TV shows such as Dallas, Extra, Laguna Beach, Desperate Housewives, and Good Morning America – all crediting Melie Bianco for being a reputable vegan leather fashion brand.
Award-Winning: Melie Bianco claimed the title for 2015’s “Best Animal-Friendly Accessories”. This award is given by PETA UK to businesses who have contributed to green solutions in their business practices.
Melie Bianco Reviews:
“The whole philosophy of Melie Bianco is affordable luxury. They understand that we all want fashionable, well-designed handbags but they are well aware that virtually nobody can afford a bag with a $500 price tag. So Melissa and William, founders of Melie Bianco, set out on a quest to create stylish bags on a budget. Would you say that they’ve achieved their goal by looking at the handbags below, knowing that each and everyone of them is under $150?”
“It feels like real leather, has a light colored interior which makes it great for finding things inside, especially since the bag is not structured.Its a great large stylish bag for summer!”
“Everyone loves my purse I get complements all the time on it. I love the fact that its so soft does not feel like fake leather at all. Its huge though. I’m not a huge fan of huge purses but I do like it. It has become more of a carry all bag that looks very stylish for me. My best friend loved it so I gave her one in a different color. We are both asked all the time where we got them etc.”
“They are all vegan! Yup, all of them are made of high-quality faux leather. Honestly, even with the actual product in my hand, I can hardly believe it’s not real leather. The bag I received is of such high quality that I’ll be using it for years.”
Melie Bianco Products
Melie Bianco comes in a wide range of products, colors, and sizes that as per Melie Bianco Wikipedia says, are all ethically sourced, is vegan leather durable and those looking for bunk products such a Melie Bianco purses, Melie Bianco piper crossbody, Melie Bianco eileen tote – are all available at the Melie Bianco wholesale store
To make easier for you to view, we’ve organized their catalog into a list with their best products for each kind:
Best Kind of Vegan Leather
If you are looking for other affordable vegan handbags, vegan leather bags, vegan leather fabric or vegan leather products other than
Affordable vegan handbags
Vegan luxury brands luxury
If you are looking for other luxurious vegan leather brands, here are just some of the many of feature vegan handbags from the likes of Gunas bags and Matt and nat vegan bag:
Gunas is a premium vegan luxury brand that has made appearances in prominent magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and many more.
For more information, please visit: https://gunasthebrand.com/
Matt and nat vegan bag
Matt & Nat is a luxury vegan leather brand whose influence spans across the United States, Japan, Canada, the United Kindom, Australia, Germany, and Japan with over 800 boutiques. Their motto is “live beautifully.”
Other notable vegan luxury brands are:
Vegan Leather 101: Everything You Need to Know
Vegan leather is a leather-like material that was produced with ZERO animals harmed or exploited during its creation process. You may also call vegan leather as pleather, alternative leather, faux leather, or basically synthetic leather. Vegan leather is made from various non-animal materials.
Vegan leather can be processed using sustainable and innovative materials like piñatex, cork sheets, mushroom, marc (from wine production), PVC, PU, apple peels, and many other alternative solutions – with the rise of the influence of organizations like PETA, other mainstream brands such as have vegan leather options for their car interiors, ensuring their customers that they care about the environment and the animals.
Does this mean that all animal skins are covered in the broad banning decisions by noted brands?
Even in the car industry, premium car manufacturers are moving toward this eco-friendly horizon:
- Tesla comes out with its vegan leather car seats.
- Volkswagen’s all-electric model is leather-free and wool-free.
- Mercedes Benz Vision EQS concept car is leather-free, including its steering wheel.
- Bentley will have a vegan grape leather interior.
- As well as Lexus, Ferrari, BMW, and more are all joining in.
In fact, the London Fashion Week in September 2018 did not show any fur in its collection. With the highlight of these environmentally friendly steps of prime brand manufacturers, we can say that the pioneering moves of the Fashion Awards of PETA have indeed gained ground.
To sustain these eco-friendly initiatives, the scenario must be an all-encompassing move, involving all parties, from consumers to media to fashion houses, designers, car manufacturers, and the many segments of the marketing industry. This way, vegan leather will indeed move from niche to mainstream marketing.
Quick History of Vegan Leather
It was in the 1960s that manufacturers started using polymers as part of their fabric making process. Polymers such as PU and PVC first started in 1839 that was first used as materials for buildings, vehicular parts, and housing. Today, with prominent organizations such as PETA, the demand for ethical, alternative vegan solutions grew.
How Traditional Leather is Made
Traditional leather is made using the skins of all sorts of animals usually cows but more “exotic” animals are used such as alligators or snakes. The process for making leather goes something like this:
- Kill the animal. That’s it. Nothing else to say.
- The animal is stripped of its skin.
- Dissection of the animal’s body, for food and other consumer products.
- Wash, soak, scrape the skin in order to rid the fur of excess meat, hair, fat, and anything else that can be considered a contaminant.
- The skins are through in a very large barrel full of tanning agents which chemically transform the skins into a more viable commercially sold product. Adding chemicals are used to make the skins thicker and more durable.
- After the tanning process, the skins are now ready to be shipped to various suppliers and manufacturers.
Please note that there is a general understanding among trappers/poachers and suppliers/manufacturers that animals to be used for leather and/or other consumer products are not to be used for food. The reason behind is simple, the chemicals used for the tanning process contains carcinogen which, to put it simply, is the basis for cancer hence is why animals used for leather and/or other consumer products are not to be used for food.
This is where vegan leather and vegan leather brands come in, to counter these harmful chemicals and cruelty against animals – these vegan leather brands use an alternative solution to the demand of leather by using non-animals materials.
How is Vegan Leather manufactured
When it comes to the manufacturing of vegan leather, there are 6 common non-animal materials used:
- Polyvinyl Chloride leather: also known as PVC is one of the affordable and innovative materials invented in the world.
- Polyurethane leather: is a material that gives vegan leather products a bit more bounce, bend, and a more genuine leather feel.
- Cork leather: come from Cork Oak Trees.
- Piñatex leather: is made from pineapple leaves.
- Wine leather: comes from the marc of grapes i.e. the core and shell.
- Mushroom leather: comes from the roots of mushrooms, in particular a substance called mycelium.
Vegan Leather made from Polyvinyl Chloride
Polyvinyl Chloride, Vinyl or PVC is an affordable and incredibly innovative solution to plastic compounds. PVC is not only used in making materials for clothing, leather, bags, etc – but PVC is also used by multiple industries such as health care, automobile, building and construction, electronics and products such as medical tubing, blood bags, IV bags, roofing, wall coverings, cable insulation, wire, parts of a windshield system, piping and siding, packaging materials and products, and so much more.
It’s safe to say that PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride is an incredible invention that has made the lives of many people easier and the building of their homes, offices, and businesses are sturdier, more stable and more durable – now, when it comes to clothes or leather, to keep simple without any scientific jargon, PVC goes through a process using a chemical called plasticizers which combines elements such as acids, alcohols, and others, to soften the plastic.
The thing about PVC is that compared to traditional methods that normally take 50 years before it decomposes. A PVC can take over 500 years before it decomposes so this is can either be a good thing or a bad thing for you.
Vegan Leather made from Polyurethane
Polyurethane or PU is one of the most common materials used to make products that are explicitly labeled “vegan leather.” Similar to Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC, Polyurethane is made using polyester fabrics, petroleum compounds, plastic chemicals that form a kind of adhesive.
Unlike PVC which is usually thicker because PU uses fewer layers; materials made from Polyurethane are softer, bendy, and produce a more leather=like feel compared to materials made with PVC. This is why, you’ll most likely find PU used in vegan leather fashion such as wallets, purses, boots, backpacks, jackets and many, many other products.
In some traditional methods of making leather, they use PU as well to produce a leather hybrid material called a Bicast or Bycast leather so it is advised that you read the labels very carefully to check if the leather has a combination of synthetics, animal skin and so on.
Vegan Leather made with Polyurethane is more sustainable
If you happen to live within the European Union, you’re in luck because the European Union enforces strict ethical and environmental standards for businesses that use PU as part of their vegan leather production. These “standards” ensure that you, the consumer receives a product that was done ethically, and in a controlled regulated process which only a fraction of harmful chemicals are released to the environment. Polyurethane when it becomes a “polyurethane polymer” will be chemically inert i.e. harmless and biodegradable.
Vegan Leather made from Cork
If you take the barks from Cork Oak Trees. Yes, these “barks” are what also used in making corks, cork boards, wine stoppers, and coasters for wine bottles, premium olive oil, and elixirs. The Cork Oak Tree is Portugal’s national tree.
How do you make leather from corks?
Here’s a quick and simple breakdown of how corks are made into leather:
- Cork harvesters chip away, methodically, at a specific part (the bark) of the tree.
- The cork sheets are then dried from their dampen and naturally wet state.
- When the cork sheets are fully dried, they are then taken to the local factory for processing.
- Once at the factory, they are boiled to soften the cork sheets to make them more.
- Once soft and dried, the cork sheets will be shaven into finely thin sheets just like tissue paper.
- The now thin cork sheets will be laminated with sealant, a fabric protection spray, to increase its durability.
Essentially think of this process as being similar to the sheep shearing where you sheer the fur (the bark) off without harming, damaging or killing it. The big difference cork oak trees can live up to over 200 years. The whole process can only be made manually, not by machines. Always by teams of harvesters. Once a tree is harvested, it will not be touched for 9 years, to keep it healthy and the Portuguese traditional alive.
Benefits of Using Cork Leather:
- The materials are incredibly elastic, durable, and lightweight.
- Cork leathers are hypoallergenic, waterproof, and anti-fungal.
- Materials made from cork leather are (somewhat) flame and fire-resistant.
- Cork Sheet productions involve ZERO plants and/or animals.
- There are no toxic and dangerous chemicals used during the harvesting of cork barks.
- Cork Oak Trees are grown naturally in the forests of Portugal without pesticides or fertilizers.
- And best of all, most cork leather last for well over 20 years – without a sign of deterioration.
What Are Commonly Made with Cork Leather?
Cork leathers are available for products such as wallets, luggage, handbags, umbrellas, shoes, and upholstery. However as time goes on, the demand for products made with cork leathers goes higher. Producers are racing to find even more ethical, fast, and sustainable ways to produce products to the public all while following the European Union’s strict environmental standards.
Vegan Leather made from Piñatex
Invented by Dr. Carmen Hijosa, a Filipina (from the Philippines) she made Piñatex out of the unused parts of pineapple plants i.e the pineapple leaves. She is responsible for its development since the 1990s, she noticed that there were a lot of unused parts of pineapples that weren’t being used which just often burned or left to rot. She saw the opportunity to turn this waste into an alternative sustainable solution as well as a secondary source of income for Philippine farmers.
How is Piñatex produced?
Piñatex goes through decortication. It’s a process where you extract pineapple leaves. The fibers from the leaves are turned into a mesh-like material or leather. The pineapple leaves harvested for decortication are no different from your standard pineapples, they still use the same process, Piñatex itself is biodegradable – no additional water, land, pesticides, or fertilizers are used for the production of Piñatex. Materials and products made with Piñatex are usually premium.
Vegan Leather made from Wine
Wine leathers or some call them grape leathers are made from waste that has accumulated during the production of wine. On average, there are about 26 billion liters (6.9 billion gallons) of wine being produced every year. For every 10 liters produced, about 2.5kgs are waste which can then be produced into wine leather, of 1 square meter. Imagine what vegan leather brands can do with that; there’s so much wine leather you can make, if done properly, you can make at least 2.5 billion sq.m.
Vegan Leather made from Mushroom
MuSkin as they call it or mushroom leathers is an alternative vegan method for making materials from mushroom roots These are called mycelium, a group of very smart scientists discovered a way to cultivate mycelium cells into what is quite possibly one of the strongest and most durable vegan leathers available in the market today by feeding mycelium cells with bio-substrates such as cellulose and grow.
What Are Commonly Made with Mushroom Leather?
Mushroom leather is available for a wide range of alternative products such as bags, wallets, watch straps, and shoes.
Benefits of Using Mushroom Leather:
- Mushroom leathers are very durable.
- Mushroom leathers are very sustainable.
- Mushroom leathers are very affordable to cultivate.
- Mushroom leathers are the safest kinds of materials that you can place/wear on a person’s body.
- Some producers are experimenting with this, by turning them into bricks for houses and buildings
- The turnover for mushroom leathers only takes a couple of weeks compared to traditional leather practices that take 2-3 years.
- And there are even talks of this being “the cure for plastic”.For more information about Melie Bianco, vegan leather brands, and vegan leather products.
Significant Periods in Vegan Leather History:
Trends in vegan leather fashion In 2013, PETA, held the first annual Fashion Awards in London, UK. This showcases animal cruelty-free fashion and awards are given to designers, brands, innovations. Celebrities Sadie Frost and Meg Matthews joined the eco-friendly advocacy by being guest judges.
In 2015, Pinatex was given an Innovation Award, by PETA for developing new technology for vegan leather from pineapple leaf fibers.
In 2016, Melie Bianco won the Best Animal-Friendly Accessories award, with her vegan leather handbags crafted from eco-friendly, all-natural materials.
In 2016, Armani, high-end fashion announced that it will be fur-free. This decision influenced other brands
In 2017, Gucci also announced it will ban real fur from the Gucci collections, beginning in 2018.
In 2017, an Innovation Award was given to the Italian company Vegea for developing the grape vegan leather from the wine industry leftovers. This was given the Best Luxury Fashion Moment Award, by PETA An Innovation Award was given by PETA to the development of grape vegan leather. This leather alternative will be used by Bentley in the interior of its car model for its 100th anniversary.
Conclusion: Vegan Leather, from Niche to Mainstream
Feeling and looking fantastic couldn’t be more fun with vegan leather brands like Melie Bianco, make leather fashion affordable and vegan. When you from vegan leather brands, we recommend that you always choose quality over cost. Buy from reputable vegan leather brands like Melie Bianco – as your purchase supports environmentally friendly business practices that make our world be greener.
Being eco-friendly and fashionable can click; value and style can match with the vegan leather bags, both luxury and affordable brands; with high-end fashion houses such as Chanel, Gucci, Armani, Versace, Burberry, Coach, and Victoria Beckham are all banning fur and exotics; which is the luxury item of the elite buyer.
As you continue to support vegan leather brands like Melie Bianco and many other talented designers who believe in practicing cruelty-free methods. You help save more innocent animals, provide more ethical work for workers, and help heal our planet.
For more information about Melie Bianco, vegan leather brands, and vegan leather products.
Please visit us: https://www.meliebianco.com/