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What is Vegan Leather made of? A Comprehensive Guide to Durable and Sustainable Alternatives

Find out the disadvantages of traditional leather, the advantages of vegan leather, and where to find the most chic and cruelty-free vegan leather products.

For many years, people have used leather without considering how it affects animals, the environment, and our planet. We’ve been unaware of the cruelty and pain animals go through just to make a single jacket that we blatantly display to our friends.

Do you want to put an end to this cruelty? Do you want to have an alternative that is equally versatile and durable?

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Vegan leather is the compassionate sustainable substitute that utilizes agricultural and plant waste, crafts elegant things out of it, is cruelty-free, and is equally versatile to create new trends in a trillion-dollar fashion industry.

Let’s learn today the disadvantages of animal-sourced leather, its harmful effects on the environment and animals, and most importantly; all about vegan leather.

Why do we need a substitute for animal-sourced leather?

Did you know that animals are specifically slaughtered to make shoes?

In most cases, animal hide or skin becomes a byproduct since they are slaughtered for, essentially, meat. But, on our planet, some high-end fast fashion brands slaughter animals to use their skin, and animal meat becomes a byproduct. Unimaginable, right?

And the nightmare doesn’t end here. Read on to learn more about the disadvantages of leather produced from animal skin.

Tanning Process

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 90% of those who reside near Bangladesh’s hazardous tanneries are found to die before the age of 50.

Chromium and formaldehyde are used for leather tanning and are serious culprits of carbon emissions and environmental pollution. The toxic wastewater produced from the tanning process is highly dangerous to air, water, and soil.

According to, “Studies of leather-tannery workers in Sweden and Italy found cancer risks between 20% and 50% above [those] expected.


Leather production highly relies on deforestation. Since animals need grasslands and grounds for grazing, an exponential amount of trees are cut and complete forests are cleared for this purpose. This destroys biodiversity, eliminates the regeneration of soil, and greater greenhouse emissions, which are hazardous to health.

The destruction of forests for cattle ranching contributes to the release of stored carbon into the atmosphere, exacerbating climate change. This process is a double-edged sword, as climate change further accelerates deforestation through extreme weather events and shifting ecological conditions.

Animal Cruelty

It is the most detrimental facet of leather production and poses long-term harmful effects on animals.

Poor Living Conditions

Cattle are reared on farms, leading to cramming several animals in limited space, hygiene problems, and limited movement. These problems contribute to severe diseases and compromise animals’ living conditions.

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Dehorning and Tail Docking

To prevent diseases among animals, farmers remove the horns and tails of animals without anesthesia.

Exposure to Chemicals

Toxic chemicals like chromium and formaldehyde are used for tanning the leather. Animals get exposed to these chemicals which cause serious health issues such as respiration issues, skin irritation, and other health problems.

Transportation Stress

Animals are transported to leather industries or slaughterhouses in stressful and cruel conditions. The animals are subjected to long arduous journeys, crammed in long haul vehicles, traveling in extreme weather conditions, and often starved or malnourished.

Slaughter Conditions

Improper stunning or stunning failures put animals through excruciating pain and lead to conscious animals entering the slaughter line.

These practices not only cause immense suffering but also violate ethical standards for humane treatment.

a friend to animals

Ready to give up Conventional Leather? Try Vegan Leather!

In contrast to animal-based leather, Vegan leather emerges as a champion of eco-friendly alternatives and a promising solution for traditional leather production problems.

It is a plant-based alternative and an innovative material that clears problems like deforestation, hazardous chemical usage, and animal cruelty from the board.

It is a refreshing breath of air for several hazardous environmental problems that traditional leather poses and has rapidly gained traction in the fashion industry for its eco-friendly properties.

Types of Vegan Leather

There are a lot of plants and plant-based materials that can be turned into leather through harmless processing. Let’s look at a few types of vegan leather available in the market these days:


Piñatex, made from pineapple leaf fibers and petroleum resin; is a prime example of vegan leather that not only sidesteps the environmental impact of animal agriculture but also utilizes agricultural by-products.

This mindset reduces the demand for additional land and resources. Piñatex is getting more popular with brands who like to keep it light on earth.

Like these perfect slip-on stylish two-strap sandals, for easygoing people.

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Bacterial Cellulose and Agricultural Waste:

Self-explanatory from the name, it comes from coconut, apple peels, maple leaf pulp, and fruit pulp. In sustainability, nothing goes to waste and upcycling becomes more natural and common unknown to fast fashion culture.

This chic women vegan leather wallet is made from coconut leather and handcrafted. You can rest assured that it is free from any toxic materials or animal cruelty.

Or this zip around apple vegan leather women’s wallet that has 2 compartments and 12 card slots. The vegan leather zip wallet is handcrafted and is biodegradable. It will not sit around on the planet for hundreds of years.

It will become part of the lifecycle in just few years. Until then, it will remain your low maintenance good companion.

Mushroom Leather (Mycelium):

Mycelium leather, derived from the root system of mushrooms, doesn’t require large areas of land for cultivation. It can be grown in controlled environments, minimizing the environmental impact associated with deforestation.

Recycled Materials:

Many vegan leather options incorporate recycled materials, further reducing the need for new resources and preventing additional deforestation.

By repurposing existing materials, the fashion industry can contribute to a circular economy and decrease its reliance on virgin resources.

Here’s a pair of slides made from recycled materials: Portonovi Vegea Slippers

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Cork Leather:

Just look at this beauty! Woman cork leather zip wallet. Who could imagine a tree bark could further enhance our lives! Cork leather is made from cork oak tree’s bark.

Apple Leather Long Zip Wallet - Wine Red

Did you know, the bark regenerates when cork is stripped from it?

That means, your beautiful wallet is cruelty-free, biodegradable, sustainable, and most of all a stylish wallet you can use every day. The vegan wallet is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and water-resistant.

Tell me, how does it feel to carry a part of nature in your pocket every day?


It is another great alternative to vegan leather and is widely used in the fashion industry to make wallets, etc.

Rock this sleek, stylish, and biodegradable wallet sourced from Cactus leaves. It can fit in 18 cards, a slim mobile phone, and folded bills easily.

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Yeast Collagen:

It is a biofabricated vegan leather made from yeast skin protein collagen, resourced from laboratory yeast.

Grape Leather:

Sustainable fashion is for every day use. And you don’t even need to sacrifice your style for it. Like these smart Borås grape leather classic sneakers for women.

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These biodegradable sustainable and versatile vegan leather sneakers are made from winewaste. The pulp, seeds, and skin are collected from wineries and fashioned into useful sustainable stuff like bags, shoes, etc.

Paper Leather:

Paper leather is made from natural plant fibers. It has a finishing of a real leather but you can rest assured that no animal was hurt to get you this Paper Leather Bag. It is handmade, washable, and durable.

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Why use Vegan Leather? – The Benefits of Vegan Leather

Do you need a bit more convincing to make the switch from animals to vegan?

Here’s a quick checklist as to why make conscious choices and what difference does it make.


You will be surprised by the cost differences between the two. Vegan leather is cheaper and easier to make as there is no cattle farming, tanning, etc. involved. Plant-based materials like apple peels, cactus leaves, etc. take up less storage space, and resources to make sandals, handbags, and other articles.


Is vegan leather durable? Yes, most vegan leather is wear-and-tear resistant and can last you many years before needing a replacement.

Environmental friendly

It does not depend upon animal cruelty, exploitation, and degeneration of the planet. Instead, it promotes biodiversity, organic lifestyle, and conscious living that our planet Earth direly needs.


It is the most versatile and durable option you will find in the market. You can create numerous textures and styles with it and keep it as good as new for ages.

Low Maintenance

You may ask how to clean vegan leather or if it is easy to maintain. And the answer is a loud and clear YES! Unlike animal-based leather, it is low maintenance, UV-light and water resistant, and does not wear or tear, stain or fade easily. So you can just wipe your leather wallet off your pants and you’re done with the cleaning!

Side note: However, we should be cautious of the pitfalls in sustainability as not all vegan leather is 100% sustainable and may contain plastic in one form or another, such as synthetic leather. The rule of thumb is to be aware of terms used by the fashion industry, do your due diligence for authentic sustainable fashion brands, and strive to recycle or reuse things we use.

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Making Sustainable Lifestyle Transformation Easy

SiS is more than a simple e-commerce platform. Our mission is to encourage, help, and inspire people to look for sustainable sourcing, reduce production waste, carbon footprint, and make conscious choices.

Whether you’re on the hunt for sustainable clothingclean beauty, or ethical homeware, our team has done the hard work for you, carefully screening brands before ever being displayed at SIS.

So all that’s left for you is to shop with peace of mind.

Where to find Vegan Leather Fashion?

Now comes the most challenging part. Where are sustainable brands? Who is crazy enough to craft shoes with grapes?

Swiss Impact Store has all the options you need to go by your life, in sustainable flavor.

From clothes to towels, lingerie, swimsuits, cardigans. It is a hub of sustainable fashion and an innovative concept that goes beyond the traditional boundaries of a fashion outlet. It offers a comprehensive range of products that align with values of environmental consciousness, ethical sourcing, and cruelty-free practices.

Central to the store’s ethos is its dedication to vegan leather. Recognizing the environmental and ethical drawbacks of traditional leather, the Swiss Impact Store exclusively features products made from cruelty-free alternatives.

Sustainable Belts

Have you ever wondered is there vegan leather in belts?

Style your favorite dresses and skirts with our sustainable vegan leather belts made from Piñatex®. The low maintenance makes it a durable and versatile option for your everyday glamor.

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Whether you are going to school, grocery shopping, out for a date, or in a corporate setting. We have got stylish and elegant sustainable vegan leather bags for each use. Check out this back-to-school grape leather bag, isn’t it a perfect steal?

Be compassionate, and be light on your dear planet with durable options that enhance your glamor in every way.


Swiss Impact Store has all the sustainable options, from head to toe. Try these stunning Ballerina flats made from sustainable and biodegradable vegan leather Piñatex®, so that you tread with confidence that you live consciously.

Living Consciously: choose to save the planet

In choosing vegan leather, consumers can contribute to a more compassionate and humane approach to fashion, one that recognizes the importance of treating animals with respect and dignity. The growing popularity of vegan leather reflects a broader shift towards ethical and sustainable choices, fostering a fashion industry that values compassion over cruelty.


Is Vegan leather expensive?

The cost of vegan leather products depends upon various factors such as material resourcing, quality, brand reputation, production method (whether it is handmade), craftsmanship, certifications and standards, and market demand.

Is all faux leather waterproof?

No, not all faux leather is inherently waterproof. The water resistance of faux leather depends on the specific type and quality of the material used in its production. Some faux leathers may have a natural resistance to water, while others may require waterproofing faux leather to enhance their water repellency.

What is plant-based water repellent?

Plant-based water repellents often incorporate natural ingredients such as beeswax, vegetable oils, and other biodegradable components. These materials not only provide water resistance but also minimize the use of harmful chemicals.