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MATERIALS

At Alter London, we care about the environment as well as animal welfare, and therefore we are committed to responsible design and production. We focus on using renewable and sustainable materials made from waste which lead to far less waste than animal leather or plastic based leather alternatives, meaning less landfill waste, less energy consumption and less impact on the environment. Furthermore, we try our best to reduce waste and the use chemicals in our production.

Currently all our products are either made to order or produced in small batches in London.

CORK

Cork is the outer bark of the cork oak tree which grows primarily in Portugal, and also in Spain, southern France and North Africa. The cork oak tree is unique as it is the only tree which can regenerate after each harvest of bark. The bark is removed from 2/3 of the tree with the first harvest after the tree has reached approximately 20 years of age. The cork oak trees can be harvested around every 10 years for 200 years or more, meaning a single tree can supply cork for many generations which makes it an eco-friendly and sustainable renewable material. 

To turn cork into fabric, it has to be boiled with water to alter the cell structure, expanding it to create a more manageable material. The boiled cork then gets shaven into very thin sheets and a cotton based backing is added to the cork sheets to increase durability. Cork textile also does not require the use of heavy toxic chemicals like in animal leather production.

 

Cork textile is light weight, soft, water repellent, durable and easy to maintain. These features make this eco-friendly material a great leather alternative.

PIÑATEX

Piñatex is an innovative textile made from cellulose fibres extracted from pineapple leaves (over 70%), polylactic acid, and PU. It is created by felting the long fibres together to create a non-woven layer. The raw material that forms the base of Piñatex is a by-product of the pineapple harvest meaning it requires no additional land, water, pesticides or fertilisers to produce. It also avoids the use of toxic chemicals and heavy metals used in animal leather production, and has none of the wastage of leather caused by the shape of the animal's skin. 

 

Approximately 480 leaves (the waste from 16 pineapple plants) are used to create 1 square metre of material. Overall Piñatex has a low environmental impact compared to other textile crops. Furthermore, it creates an additional income stream for farming communities.

Piñatex is versatile, lightweight, water resistant and durable, making it a great alternative to leather.

MALAI

Malai is a biocomposite material made from entirely organic and sustainable bacterial cellulose grown on agricultural waste sourced from the coconut industry in Southern India. Local farmers and processing units collect coconut water waste (which would otherwise be dumped, causing damage to the soil) and use it to feed the bacteria’s cellulose production which a sheet of cellulose jelly forms in about 2 weeks from the fermentation. The sheet is then procesed, refined and blended with other natural fibres from bananas, hemp or agave leaves to create durability and texture.

 

No petroleum-based polymers or no harsh chemicals are used in the process. One coconut-processing unit can collect 4000 litres of coconut water waste per day which can be used to make 320 sq meters of Malai.

Malai is not only strong, water resistant and durable, it is also completely free from synthetic materials, plastics and harsh chemicals.