Created by friends Carl Ollson and Felix von Bahder in 2012, Stockholm based company Deadwood started their business when they were puzzled by the current leather industry. Their lack of ethical options has led to their creation of plant based cactus leather that makes up their line of leather products.
After years of severe dissatisfaction with the leather industry, the founders of Deadwood came across an article about the newest vegan leather. Farmers in Guadalajara, Mexico were experimenting with a new cactus based leather alternative that sparked their interest, and the rest is history.
Once a season, the cactus plants of Zacatecas are ready to be harvested (aka plucked). Each plant is treated with TLC and is never plucked prematurely to ensure their regrowth. The gatherings are mashed left to dry in the sun for three days to extract the internal humidity. The raw material can be shaped and textured after being mixed with non toxic chemicals to form completely plant based leather.
The ethics behind fur and leather production have always been a big debate in the fashion industry. Although many sources push different opinions, many stand by the fact that leathers are a by-product of the meat industry. So if this is true, then wouldn’t leathers just be a form of repurposing?
On the other side of the debate are people who believe wearing leather is always bad, no question. Still, so many people stand by the fact that they don’t want to kill animals. Fair point.
Often untalked about is the tanning process that all garment leather goes through. Aside from the CO2 emissions of raising cattle, the tanning process utilizes many toxic chemicals. Tanning is the process of altering the protein structure of the leather to increase durability, without it, in a few months our garments would decompose the same way all natural materials do. The most popular method of leather tanning releases cancer-causing chromium that most often ends up in our waterways and ecosystems. Recent studies done by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) said employees of tanning factories are 20%-50% more likely to get cancer in their lifetime. As science advanced and more research was being done about the tanning process, manufacturers found a way to use vegetable solvents to achieve the same result.
Pleather was the perfect vegan solution for non-meat-eating bikers, that was, until we started seeing how long it took to decompose. It has all the qualities of leather with added durability and water resistance. It is also a cheaper alternative to real leather which was a big plus for clothing companies.
Because its main component is a relative to plastic it’s production and decomposition leave lingering effects. Petroleum and chlorine are essential (and environmentally detrimental) products in creating pleather. Polyvinyl chloride is a by-product of pleather production and is extremely detrimental to human and environmental health. It is directly linked with leukemia, lymphoma, lung and brain cancer in humans.
The word pleather forever painted the product in a cheap light. The word is always associated with the word plastic. Since, companies have slowly started referring to it as vegan leather, to create connotations of a more ethical option (because vegans have the ethics down). Deadwood cofounder Felix von Bahder has expressed his reluctance to utilize vegan leather…“At Deadwood we have been somewhat skeptical toward the hype around ‘vegan leather,’ as we feel it is just the same old plastic leather that we have seen for decades, rebranded”.
We aren’t the only ones who have noticed that neither is a suitable, ethical or sustainable option. Not everyone has access to second hand leather products, and many are turned off by its creative limitations. Thus came the newest type of plant based leather, aka veggie leather.
Deadwood is paving the way for the newest advancement in leather since the 20’s created. Many companies are taking note and even giving this idea their own spin and making products from pineapples, flowers, and even corn. It’s about time we had an option that didn’t hurt the environment one way or another.
Via ÀLA.HAUSSE‘s Multi-functional and Multi-purposeful Fashion Ecosystem- BUY/SELL/RENT/LEND/ (swap BETA 2021) mobile application, INDIVIDUALS & brands ( BETA 2021) are encouraged to REBUY, RESELL, REUSE and UP-CYCLE their personal “Clossets” aka Clothing Assets, along with overstock inventory and samples. Through this consumerism habit shift we indirectly slow down the urgency on fashion’s carbon footprint, aiding sustainability as a whole.
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