Never before like today we realize how necessary it is to preserve our environment and how important the future of our planet is. Although artisanship is rooted in ancient traditions, we see that an interest for innovation is arising among Italian artisans. Many of them are leading the changes of the fashion industry by crafting ethical bags and backpacks from recycled materials or utilizing organic and sustainable leather. When we talk about sustainable purses we can definitely be proud to see Made in Italy craftsmanship evolving and combining tradition with innovation.
What are sustainable and eco-friendly bags?
Vegetable tanned leather: a centuries-old tradition
Some techniques belonging to the Italian artisanship tradition haven’t changed throughout the years and still today represent an excellence in the industry. An example is the vegetable tanning of leather - a process that respects the environment as it doesn’t require the use of chemicals and uses only leather coming from the wastes of the food industry. For vegetable tanning, artisans utilize natural extracts coming from woods and vegetable sources to make full grain vegetable tanned leather destined to accessories, shoes, and handbags. The tradition of veg tan leather started in Tuscany around 1200, making the region the first producer in Italy for leather used in the luxury fashion industry. Still today Made in Tuscany leather bags and accessories are well known all over the world for their excellent quality and durability.
Apple fruit leather: a way to use waste of the food industry
We strongly believe that tradition and innovation can coexist and our artisans prove that constantly by challenging themselves and utilizing their expertise to craft eco-friendly products with innovative materials. One of the most unconventional fabrics is certainly the apple fruit leather. Buti Pelletterie crafts the unique handbag 1630 whose peculiarity is not only the stunning design but also the use of apple skin leather for the interior lining. Although the tradition of the workshop goes back to decades ago, the artisan saw in apples a sustainable and interesting material. Making apple fruit leather means recycling the tons of apples wastes that we produce every year. The process to obtain a leather texture doesn’t need any chemical - the apple’s dried pulp and skin only need processes like grinding and dehydration to be used for crafting.
Desserto© cactus leather: a plant-based innovation
If you were amazed by the apple fruit leather wait to hear the next one. Directly from Trieste, Marco Trevisan has seen a great potential in leather made from cactus as an alternative for animal leather to craft the vegan version of its Diamond handbag. Desserto© cactus leather was showcased during the 2019 Milan fashion week and today it represents a sustainable material that has all the characteristics to satisfy the fashion and leather industry needs. The vegan cactus leather is made from the mature leaves of the plant, which remains untouched and undamaged. Cactus leather is organic, biodegradable, and durable.
Pinapple leather: a sweet alternative to leather
To add to the collection of leather made from fruit, Piñatex® leather is made from pineapple fiber. Products made from pineapple leather are similar to any other product made from traditional leather. Pineapple leather comes from the waste of the fruit: the leaves, which are extracted, dried, and purified, and then they undergo a mechanical process that makes them ready for the fashion industry. As of today more than 100 brands use the pineapple fabric Pinatex and even some of our artisans are showing strong interest like Adelaide Carta who only crafts vegan products. Adelaide Carta’s Fedhen handbag is just one example of how tradition and innovation can work together to contribute to a more sustainable approach to fashion.
Not only bags but also sustainable fabric and textiles
So far we have seen outstanding examples of eco-friendly handbags. However, there are cases of excellence also in the Italian textile industry. Traditional weaving techniques, technological innovation and material sustainability have made one of our artisans, Beltrami, synonymous with quality and exclusivity. Its attention to eco-friendly and ethical materials represent an excellence of Made in Italy artisanship tradition.
Wood Fiber or “Autentica Fibra di Legno”: the wood leather material
Purchasing a sustainable bedding set or an eco-friendly pajama is surely a pleasure to the eye, to the touch, and to the environment. Just imagine doing your power naps lying on a bed sheet like Calipso or wearing a soft tunic made of a wood leather material called wood Fiber or in Italian “Autentica Fibra di Legno”. This is a natural and ecological yarn made from birchwood and soft wood using a sustainable and eco-friendly process. The result is a luxurious, durable, and comfortable leather-like textile.