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The Mexican go-getters with a new spin on vegan leather

Date: 21-Jan-20
Author: Liam Taylor

The nopales cactus is an iconic sight in Mexico.

The nopales cactus is an iconic sight in Mexico.

Two young Mexican entrepreneurs are redefining the usefulness of nopales, the iconic species of cactus commonly known as prickly pear.

Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázares recently launched Desserto, a unique sustainable alternative to leather made out entirely of the cactus plant synonymous with their native country. The product they created is very similar to leather in terms of touch and feel, whilst also being a sustainable material requiring very little water to produce.

The duo began looking into the possibility for a cactus-based leather alternative after finishing university and finding themselves becoming more and more concerned about the environment and particularly treatment of animals. This led them to consider a leather alternative that wouldn’t require animal agriculture or intensive environmental practices: cactus skin. 

“The idea of using this raw material was conceived because this plant does not need any water to grow, and there is plenty of it throughout the Mexican Republic,” Adrián López Velard, co-founder of Desserto, said in an interview with Fashion United.

“Also, symbolically, it represents all of us Mexicans and everybody knows it.” 

The research and development phase of the project went on for over two years before the duo arrived on a suitable product that would comply with the technical specifications of the industry, while also being durable and high-quality. Desserto was then put on parade at fashion shows and conferences around the world, where it was near-universally celebrated.

As well as fashion products, the duo are now looking into the ability of Desserto to substitute leather material used in furniture and the automotive industry.


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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.

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