Over the past year, we have discovered some fascinating and innovative startups creating fabric and clothing from the most unexpected materials and resources.
We have seen t-shirts made from surplus milk, silky textiles made from the by-product of Italy’s orange juice production and leather created from leftover materials from the Philippines pineapple harvest.
What next you ask?
The latest material to have caught our eye is Desserto an incredibly eco-friendly and sustainable vegan-leather created from cactus.
Located in the Mexican state of Zacatecas is the Desserto farm where the startup’s founders Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez grow their cacti.
The two entrepreneurs came up with the idea after spending time working in the furniture, automotive, and fashion industries and seeing firsthand the impact of environmental pollution.
At the ranch, Desserto selects and cuts only the mature leaves of the cacti every 6-8 months which respects the plant’s cycle and avoids damaging the cactus itself. Plus, no irrigation systems are used as the cacti grow healthy with rainwater and earth minerals found in the area.
After cutting the mature leaves, they are dried under the sun for three days until the desired humidity levels are achieved. The organic raw material is then processed and mixed with non-toxic chemicals and then shaped into “any texture and colour.”
So far, the cactus leather (also known as nopal) has been used to create stunning bags, accessories footwear and clothing.
The ranch is fully organic, so no herbicides or pesticides are used in the process and all the remaining organic cactus material not used is exported and sold nationally to the food industry.
Earlier this year it was announced that Desserto’s cactus leather is in the top 30 finalists of the LVMH innovation award 2020.