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Meet the guys who make vegan leather out of cactus leaves to save the environment

Two entrepreneurs wanted to find a sustainable material, so they quit their jobs and developed the world's first environmentally friendly leather made out of cactus.

Meet the guys who make vegan leather out of cactus leaves to save the environment
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Both producers and consumers are now looking for more sustainable materials to create their products. Many manufacturers have turned to vegan leather, but no one's doing it quite like this duo is. Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez, two entrepreneurs from Mexico, have found a way to transform cactus leaves into vegan leather. You might think this is impossible, but one look at their fabric will show you that their product looks and feels exactly like the real thing. Their inventive material may just be the future of fashion and clothing production as we collectively look for more sustainable fabrics.



The two entrepreneurs were working in the fashion and furniture automotive industries. At some point in their careers, they realized just how much pollution and environmental destruction those industries were responsible for. They decided this was a serious problem and were inspired to come up with a way to solve it. In order to find a solution that could actually work, Velarde and Cázarez left their jobs. The duo dedicated two whole years to brainstorming, ideating, and coming up with manufacturing processed. Finally, they created and launched their marketable cactus leather in July 2019.



Now, cactus may seem like an odd choice. However, it is incredibly strong and resilient, does not need much water to grow (duh, cacti grows in the desert), and can handle low temperatures without dying. In addition to all this, there is plenty of supply of cacti in Mexico as the plant is indigenous to the country. Desserto, as they call it, is the world’s first environmentally friendly organic material made out of Nopal cactus, also known as the prickly pear. While the material the company manufactures is obviously sustainable and does not use any toxic chemicals in production, what will surprise you is just how much variety the brand offers.



There are several colors, variations in thickness, and even diverse textures. It's pretty much like the real deal! Just like "actual" leather, the cactus leather is elastic, breathable, and highly customizable. Basically, anything that is made out of animal leather right now can be made out of vegan cactus leather.  At present, the firm's cactus is grown in a ranch located in the state of Zacatecas in Mexico. In order to produce their material, Desserto's employees first locate and cut the mature leaves of the cacti plants. They then clean them, mash them, and dry them under the sun for a total of three days. Finally, the leaves are processed so they can eventually become part of Velarde and Cázarez's patented vegan leather formula.



Velarde and Cázarez's has won them numerous awards in the recent past. In 2020, Desserto was handed the Green Product Award, which is bestowed every year upon globally sustainable, innovative products and services that are already on the market. The company was also the winner of the Monte Carlo Fashion Week 2020 Sustainability Awards. The two entrepreneurs were appreciated for their inventive contribution to fashion sustainability. Desserto was the first Mexican company to be awarded the prestigious honor.



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