Over the past few years we have seen the rise of plant-based meat that could easily pass as the 'real' thing, with companies like Beyond meat and Impossible burger making it extremely easy to live a plant based diet, if you're open to it. Next on the horizon is 'clean meat', this being lab-grown meat that is identical to the meat which is sold everywhere today, just without the cruel slaughterhouses and greenhouse gas emissions which 'real' meat produces.
While plant based meat has been excelling in the public ey, eplant based textiles have quietly advancing behind the scenes. No longer is the only option for an animal-friendly bag an environment damaging PVC one, instead we are now faced with an abundance of natural options which give the appearance of real meat leather.
However, cruelty-free leather is still advancing in dramatic ways. With the latest process being the creation of genuine animal leather, but with no harm to an animals life. This is possible through a process called biofabrication.
Below is leather samples made using the process of Biofabrication:
But what is this, very scientific, sounding process?
As new and crazy as this process sounds it has actually been around for years and was the process in which human insulin was produced for diabetics. It is produced via replicating molecules that are found within the product, for example within leather is the molecule collagen. If you create and isolate that molecule then you could replicate it in a way that would ultimately result in the same polymers that come together to form leather. They can then manipulate the liquid collagen into many forms, including into clothes or bags, and finish it with a more simplified and eco-friendly tanning process than traditional leather currently uses.
The ethical and environmental implications of removing animals from the textile supply chain would have a huge positive effect - animals lives would be spared, carbon emissions would go down, waste production would go down, land usage goes down, water usage goes down, just to name a few! As well as this, with more and more designers and consumers being so interested in making the switch to a cruelty-free life it is safe to say there looks to be a major disruption ahead for the traditional leather industry!