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Could Cacti Be The Future of the Leather Industry?

Do I look sharp in my cacti leather jacket? Pun intended.

Photo By Desserto.pelle Via Instagram

Desserto’s Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez were able to successfully make vegan leather out of cacti.

Over the years, with the help of PETA and other animal rights organizations, the usage of animal skin for fashion and decorative purposes has dropped significantly. Some of the main ways fashion designers integrated the leather elements into their projects was through faux leather. Previously, faux leather could be made out of paper, cork, recycled rubber, waxed cotton, tree bark, apple, and many other ways.

With the innovation of Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez, now the fashion and automotive industry are integrating cacti leather into their products.

After spending years abroad in the east, López Velarde and Cázarez stirred the fashion biz by introducing the cacti leather in 2019. The leather and fashion industry had never seen cacti-leather before.

Two years later, the cacti leather is still not on sale to the general public, however, they have sold their work to many fashion and automotive companies; so, without knowing, we could be using or sitting on a cacti leather made by Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez.

They have an Instagram page under their brand name of “Desserto.Pelle”, dedicated to raising awareness for the leather industry, as well as advertising their environmentally conscious innovation.

Adrián explained the process of making cacti leather:

Here in México, in the state of Zacatecas, we have a ranch where we grow our raw material: cactus. At the ranch we select and cut only the mature leaves of the plant without damaging the cactus itself, so every six to eight months we will [collect] a new harvest.

We do not use an irrigation system for the cactus, it grows with rain water and the earth minerals which are rich in Zacatecas and great for the variety of cactus that we plant. The selected cactus is very resilient and strong, it can handle low temperatures during winter without dying and its thorns are very small so it’s easier and safer for our agriculture team to harvest.

Within the ranch, after cutting the mature leaves, we dry them under the sun for three days until achieving the exact humidity levels that we seek. So, there’s no oven or additional energy used (like gas) in this drying process. Then we process the organic raw material to make it part of our patented formula, which allows us to make the Cactus Vegan-Leather which we call DESSERTO.

The ranch is fully organic, so there are no herbicides nor pesticides used. All the remaining organic cactus material not used in our process is exported and sold nationally in the food industry, so you can imagine how organic and safe our material is.

With the help of environmentally conscious and innovative people such as Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez, day after day, we’re getting a step closer to an animal cruelty free world. It will take time and effort, but even the smallest of steps matter.

As a vegetarian person, works of López and Cázarez really resonate with me, because once the fashion world raises awareness of a cause, everyone else seems to listen and follow their lead. By creating the cacti leather within a year of starting Desserto, they taught everyone that if there’s a will, there’s a way.

We have found leather and fur similes, but are we any closer to banning them, and acknowledging the fact that fashion isn’t worth hurting the animals.

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