Mexican entrepreneurs Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez Duarte have set their sights on revolutionizing the fashion industry (yet again) with their latest creation: the world’s first agave-cactus vegan skin. The innovative duo already made waves four years ago when they introduced the sustainable biomaterial Desserto as an alternative to animal skins by using cactus.
The two entrepreneurs shared: “When we started Desserto we did not stop in our research and development efforts, and we realized that there are other fibers in Mexico that can give the same raw material, even better. We researched which plants, besides the symbolic ones of Mexico, were the most wasteful in every process, and we arrived at the Agave. The tequila industry, although one of the largest in Mexico, leaves a lot of waste during the process, such as leaves and bagasse, so we saw the opportunity to investigate how to develop it.”
For those unaware, the tequila industry generates a staggering amount of waste during the production process, including leaves and bagasse, which equates to a total of 36,000 tons per year. This waste is usually sold or donated to brick kilns, where it is burned as a cheap fuel, causing air pollution and ash production. At the same time, the tequila industry is a symbol of Mexican culture and generates a significant economic impact. With Desserto’s new innovation, they are providing a way for the industry to continue to grow and internationalize while also reducing its environmental impact.
Desserto Agave material has the same versatility as nopal leather, with potential applications including bags, purses, and accessories. However, it also boasts several distinct advantages, including a softer feel and an organic content of up to 89 percent. Additionally, the agave leather has a natural, earthy aroma, providing a subtle, mature scent that sets it apart from its sweeter nopal leather cousin.
“I was very happy when it first came out because we thought we couldn’t process the fibers. The first volume we pulled out was a shade between brown and orange, which is similar to the color that bagasse has when it is wet. It reminded me how complicated it was and how many machines we had allowed to create it, but in the end, everything turned out well, and now there is a new alternative,” the imprint added.
We can agree that López Velarde and Cázarez Duarte’s vision of a more sustainable future for both the fashion and tequila industries is one that could change the face of sustainable fashion as we know it. Although Desserto Agave’s biomaterial is still in the early stages, we certainly look forward to seeing this innovation becoming implemented across the industry.
In the meantime, you can read more about Desserto Agave on the newly-launched sub-brand’s official website. And, if you’re interested in seeing what else plant waste can do, check out the latest sneakers made using Ananas Anam’s PIÑATEX.