Dutch footwear brand Mercer Amsterdam has launched a vegan range of sneakers made with pineapples.
According to the company, “the leaves are the byproduct of existing agriculture, and their use creates an additional income stream for farming communities.”
Mercer Amsterdam believes it is the first luxury sneaker brand to use pineapple leaves to create a vegan shoe. “We really wanted to focus on fruit because of the additional ‘wow’ factor,” the brand’s founder Pim Dresen told Footwear News.
“We have been trying and testing for a long time to get it done with mango and strawberry leather but we could not get it right,” he continued. “Then we discovered Piñatex, which offered an amazing material ready to use, tested and all. Plus we love pineapple.”
The new design also uses OnSteam — a microfiber textile — for the lining, which allows the sneaker to maintain a leather feel but remain breathable.
With The W3RD, Mercer Amsterdam aims to show the world that sustainable, vegan leather shoes can be just as stylish and practical as those made with traditional cow-derived leather. “Being in the factories a lot I see and feel the need for a change,” said Dresen. “People need to know that there are very good alternatives for leather.”
Despite the fact that many brands believe leather is natural and eco-friendly, the production of the material is one of the most environmentally damaging aspects of the fashion industry.
Luxury vegan fashion designer Stella McCartney recently spoke out about the impact of leather in an interview with Vogue. “An animal decomposes when it’s natural, but after all the chemical treatments [applied] to a leather handbag, it isn’t going to decompose in your wardrobe,” she said.
“That product is staying alive because of the chemicals that have been put on it,” she added, explaining that if brand’s want to see a major change to the environmental impact of the fashion industry, they need to stop using leather.
The W3RD is currently available for pre-order from Mercer Amsterdam’s website.