Desserto is an innovative leather alternative made from nopal cactus. This plant-based leather means less harm to animals and less damage to the environment. The production process requires minimum water use and carbon dioxide absorption.
Desserto is not only cruelty-free and eco-friendly, but it also looks and feels exactly like real leather. Additionally, this durable material lasts up to ten years, it's flexible, breathable, and it doesn't stain.
Desserto was created by two entrepreneurs from Mexico Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez. They hope their product would save millions of animals worldwide when it becomes widely available.
Adrián and Marte were previously working in the fashion, and automotive furniture industries and they were shocked about how much pollution and destruction the leather industry was responsible for. They decided to find a solution to replace the leather with a new innovative, and environmentally-friendly material.
It took them over two years of brainstorming to come up with a new and sustainable idea - vegan leather made from cactus.
They launched Desserto in 2019 in Milan, Italy.
They told Fashion United: "The idea of using this raw material was conceived because this plant does not need any water to grow, and there is plenty of it throughout the Mexican Republic. Also, symbolically, it represents all of us Mexicans and everybody knows it. Besides, to be able to incorporate this material to various industries, it is essential to count on a stable, abundant supply of raw material. We currently have 2 hectares where we cultivate nopals, as well as an expansion capacity of 40 hectares. Regarding production capacity, we have 500,000 linear meters a month."
"After two years of research and development we managed to produce a suitable material that complies with the features and technical / mechanical specifications required by those industries that use animal or synthetic leather; also, thanks to its organic composition, it is breathable, which makes cactus or nopal vegan leather similar to animal leather."
The cactus they used for the production of the leather is grown on their plantation in Mexico. They only select mature leaves of the succulents, clean them, mash them, and dry them under the sun for three days. Later the product is processed so that it can be used as a material for vegan leather. The company doesn't use any toxic chemicals, phthalates, or PVC.
Desserto is flexible and highly customisable. It can be used for car seats, bags, shoes, and other fashion accessories. It is available in a large variety of colours, textures and thicknesses.
This month, Desserto was selected among 30 finalists out of a total of 1,275 participants for LVMH Innovation Award 2020.
The LVMH Innovation Award was created in 2017 by the LVMH group to recognise promising new companies determined to fulfil their commitments to innovation and the environment. The event brings together 75 exceptional fashion brands that create high-quality products.