Friday, April 19, 2024

Revolutionising the fashion industry with fruit leather now

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Every year thousands of animals go through harsh cruelty in order for the leather manufacturers to make the leather products. Taking away the pain from the animal, Anjana Arjun creates handbags using fruit leathers. In an exclusive interview with us, she takes us through the concept.

Shikha Duggal

Anjana Arjun, the daughter of the popular actor Arjun Sarja is proving that “being human” is actually stylish and not hunting animals for their fur.

Aware of the horrors as an educated woman, the entrepreneur is taking away the pain from the animals and rather took resort to “fruit leather.” At first, even we were heedless about it while further in our research we found it to be one of the best alternatives to stop animals from acute suffering just like the model turned entrepreneur.

A technology research firm forecasted annual sales of low-complexity leather alternatives, which include fruit and vegetable-derived materials as well as recycled-material leathers, are likely to hit $1 billion by 2025 driven by a combination of consumer demand and technological advances.

The CEO of Sarjaa World seconds this, and informs, “Designs are done by me. We later prototype them, and then convey the tech-packs to my manufacturing team, who then execute the final product. We have had to do two years of research and development on fruit leather. We tested how strong the materials can really be, what kind of needle and threads would work on them (mind you, each material we work with has a different character), and to test what kind of materials goes with which design we had in mind. The materials are first cut out for the bags, then cut into the patterns, fused with another layer of material if required, stitched with the inner lining, then has any accessories attached, get edge color work done to it, and then finally reversed to take its shape.”

A self-confessed art connoisseur and lover of all things fashion, it’s only fitting that these two creative pursuits came together for this young 26-year-old entrepreneur. Her two year of research noted demand for more complex materials like those made from mushroom roots. She also feels the mentality is changing because, “Our bags and materials are definitely a great alternative since we are using fruit and plant-based leather. This is different from real leather and fake leather. Faux or fake or vegan leather is a concoction of PVC, and other toxic chemicals, and colors. We do not use PVC, phthalates, toxic chemicals or toxic colors. Our inner lining is also made of organic cotton or the same as the outer materials, and the accessories are 70% post-consumer recycled, and we use lightweight green metals as well. We are making products that are ethically hand-made in small batches, using such planet-friendly materials, which are very lightweight and easy to maintain. I wanted to make sustainable bags very comfortable, easy, and chic, which I saw missing in the market, and hopefully, I am filling the gap now.”

Very interested in wellness, she also noticed more and more consumers are interested to know what fruit leather is. Because she’s pioneering animal rights — she thought of bringing innovations from a farm and not a jungle to our closets. That’s where she draws the difference!

The pomace and peels left from the apple-juice manufacturing process have found a second life in a leather material that’s been used in luxury footwear and accessories. In fact, more recently, Danish timepiece brand introduced a line of watches with apple-leather straps and even Volkswagen is set to roll out an electric car with an interior appointed in apple leather! Can we look at the expansion now? It doesn’t stop here. A partnership between Swiss accessories and weaving partners has turned banana-plant fibers from the Philippines into a waterproof technical fabric that is being used in furniture coverings, minimalist bags.

“The leather industry overall is animal cruelty. Industrialists say it is a by-product of the meat industry and how it is up-cycled. But the chemical processes which go into preserving leather from decomposing to lasting forever are toxic! The meat industry even abroad is a huge threat to the environment due to its huge carbon emissions. But because leather is a norm among people, and beautiful luxurious products are being crafted with leather—people are attracted to it. More sustainable alternatives that also have futuristic design elements and luxurious quality, is a norm as well. I don’t believe in putting down any other industry because there is hard work that goes into everything. But I created fruit leather because hard work doesn’t need to involve animal cruelty,” exclaimed the founder.

Milan-based company that’s found a way to use the stalks, seeds and skins left behind when the juice is squeezed out to make wine. There the luxury retailer stepped up its footwear game by using the leathery material for the uppers of an eco-friendlier version.

She continued, “Animal leather is very popular and the heinous act of hunting animals for their skin and hair, which causes rapid depletion of animal species and even the extinction of some. Fruit leather is essentially leather made using waste from the fruit juicing industry. Fruit leathers are usually derived from existing fruit industries and fruit bits that are thrown out. Likewise, plant leather is derived from the leaves of various fruit trees and cacti. Fruit and plant leather is more expensive than animal leather because of the technological effort involved, however, it is much easier and more sustainable to create this leather in terms of the number of natural resources that go into it. Many of my products are made using waste generated by the apple and pineapple juicing industry.”

Amanda Navaian also married sustainability. Two years ago, she found a vegan material that became the hero of her accessories label! House of Marici’s handbags champion a transparent manufacturing process using an innovative fruit-based leather—a low-impact alternative to its counterparts drawn from animals. The glistening Piñatex uses less water and generates minimal production waste, where no harmful chemicals are involved. So, stop taking their skin which leads to their death!

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