Culture Sustainable Fashion This Vegan Leather Collection Is Made From Apple Skins By Melissa Breyer Editorial Director Hunter College F.I.T., State University of New York Cornell University Melissa Breyer is Treehugger’s editorial director. She is a sustainability expert and author whose work has been published by the New York Times and National Geographic, among others. our editorial process Melissa Breyer Updated November 24, 2020 SAMARA Share Twitter Pinterest Email Culture History Travel Sustainable Fashion Art & Media Holidays Community SAMARA's cruelty-free apple leather is created from the waste of the juicing industry. We need to talk about the elephant in the room when it comes to vegan fashion – and that elephant comes in the form of plastic. Cruelty-free alternatives to fur and leather are almost always made from plastic; petroleum products that are becoming one of humankind’s most pressing pollution problems. It really does present a conundrum – which is why it is great to see advances coming from the vegan leather industry, in which plant-based materials are being used instead of plastics. Hurray! One company making strides in the field is SAMARA. New Direction for Vegan Leather The Toronto-based cruelty-free fashion house was started by two sisters, whose goal is “to ensure that our products are made out of the finest quality materials and that they are sustainable,” sister Salima told TreeHugger. “Our promise is to create our products from the least amount of materials possible, without harming any living thing in the process.” Seeking out the highest grade, most sustainable materials, they realized it was time to start experimenting in new directions. “As the vegan leather industry is growing, we decided that it was time to raise the bar and start experimenting with other plant-based materials.” So the sisters got to work and spent a year devising an apple-based vegan leather to use for their best-selling product, the Mini. After many iterations and quality checks, it is now available and cute as can be. Like all of their designs, the Mini is modern and minimalist, think Celine or Mansur Gavriel, without the animal bits. Hint of Plastic SAMARA They tell me that the apple leather is made from apple skins that are waste from the juicing industry. Alas, they have not yet figured out how to make it completely plastic-free – they still use some polyurethane (PU) for a binding agent. But they are striving to constantly improve their innovations; I have faith they can get to 100 percent plant-based and I really hope they do. In the meantime, they use the most sustainable materials they can find, using what they call eco-friendly PU, rather than polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is notoriously bad for environment. The company says that all of their products are made without PVC. It may not be perfect yet – but a hint of plastic is better than all plastic, to be sure. And it's just great to see stylish vegan options that flaunt sustainability as well. (Also noteworthy: SAMARA partners with The Soular Backpack to provide solar-powered backpacks to children in East Africa who don't have access to electricity. Since the company’s launch in 2017, SAMARA has facilitated the delivery of more than 500 backpacks that allow the kids to do homework every night without having to rely on carcinogenic kerosene lamps. A portion of every purchase goes toward this enlightening initiative.) The Apple leather Mini comes in three colors. For more, visit SAMARA.