How vegan and sustainable leathers have got fashion in the bag

·2-min read
With "leathers" made using apples, mushrooms or pineapple, vegan alternatives to animal leather are big news in the world of bags and accessories.

After Hermès and its mushroom-based "leather" bag, Genny is the latest brand branching out with animal-leather alternatives. As commitment to making fashion more sustainable grows in the sector, the luxury label is poised to launch its first apple-leather handbag capsule.

After ready-to-wear and sneakers, bags and accessories are the latest leather goods to get their five a day. From mushrooms and apples to pineapples, grapes, bananas and even corn waste, some of fashion's biggest luxury brands are doubling down on creativity -- and innovation -- to meet growing consumer demand to make tomorrow's it-bags ethical and sustainable.

The latest luxury label to make the move is Genny, which is outing its first apple-leather handbag April 22, in celebration of Earth Day, reports Women's Wear Daily (WWD). Made in Italy, this vegan and sustainable bag is made with 'leather' derived from apple waste, and was initially unveiled as part of the brand's fall 2021 collection showcase at Milan Fashion Week.

The apple: a go-to alternative

This isn't the first time that apple-based leather has made inroads into fashion. The Italian start-up Frumat has already worked with several brands to develop apparel and sneakers using the material, which promises to be revolutionary and relatively low cost, since it's made with apple waste from the food production industry. Brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Caval have already been won over by apple leather which, while helping end animal cruelty and contributing to waste reduction, also appears to be a virtually inexhaustible source.

The French brand Ashoka Paris has made vegan bags and accessories its trademark. Early in 2020, the brand notably worked with a certain Pamela Anderson on a line of ethical handbags made using Apple Skin.

And while the apple quickly found favor in the fashion world, it is now being joined by a vegetable rival, the mushroom . Although initially little known, mushroom-based materials are gradually making their way into major labels, thanks to their environmental qualities. In fact, one of the world's most coveted leather goods brands, Hermès, recently worked with the MycoWorks startup to develop a first bag made partly from mushrooms. Proof that the sector is innovating and is thinking about a more ethical and responsible future.

Genny's first sustainable bag will retail for €250 (approx. US$295) exclusively online via the brand's e-shop , according to WWD.

Christelle Pellissier