You can now get your hands on vegan bags made from fossil cactus leather.
Fashion watch and accessory brand Fossil launched the vegan tote bags online on April 12 in celebration of Earth Month.
Fossil created the collection—Kier Cactus Leather Totes—in partnership with Desserto. The Mexico-based company was founded in 2019. It creates its sustainable, vegan leather—made from organically grown cactus leaves—for use in the fashion, automotive, aeronautics, furniture, and footwear industries.
“After witnessing first-hand the impact that tanneries have on the environment, we sought to create a vegan alternative that leaves a lighter footprint while meeting our rigorous quality standards,” Marte Cázarez, Desserto’s co-founder, said in a press release.
The launch of the vegan cactus leather collection follows Fossil’s 2019 commitment to sustainability. As part of its Make Time For Good initiative, the company committed to a number of pro-planet policies, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent and overall water consumption.
The Kier Cactus Leather Totes collection will feature four colorways: moss, wine, black, and brown.
Fossil Cactus Leather
Leather is created through tanning the hide of animals, usually cows. In the U.S., the vast majority of leather is chromium-tanned. The process is incredibly damaging to the environment as it uses toxic chemicals, such as chromium salts and tanning liquor.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, chromium is considered a “hazardous” air pollutant. But the chrome tanning process is not only harmful to the environment—it releases toxic chemicals into waterways—but to workers employed in the industry as well.
And not all vegan leathers are eco-friendly. Most vegan leather found in stores is made of polyurethane (PU), a type of plastic. The vegan cactus leather is a more sustainable option compared to cow-derived leather and plastic-based leather.
According to Desserto, the production of its cactus leather requires far fewer resources. The cactus plants require only rainwater and natural minerals in order to grow. Each Kier tote bag is able to save approximately 7.5 liters of water as a result. This equates to roughly 15 500 milliliter water bottles.
Cactus is also a natural carbon sink—it has the ability to sequester carbon dioxide. “We are able to absorb 8,100 tons of CO2/year while at the farm we only generate 15.30 tons of CO2 annually,” the company notes on its website.
“Since first introducing Desserto cactus leather to the world in 2019, we have continued to develop and educate others on our materials and sustainable processes,” Adrián López Velarde, Desserto’s co-founder, explained. “Today, we are proud to partner with brands, like Fossil, who share a vision of reducing their environmental impact through the use of eco-friendly materials.”
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