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Palm leather

Vegan leather is made from palm leaves

Science & Environment

Dutch designer has devised an innovative new leather made from palm leaves, reducing the hefty carbon footprint of the textile industry.

There have been various attempts to use sustainable methods to create new fibres and textiles, from food waste or even coconut. The American textile industry is the fifth largest carbon emissions contributor in the US, and so clearly an element of sustainable textile production is in demand. The latest textile innovation comes from designer Tjeerd Vennhoven.

The Dutch designer has used palm leaves to create a vegan and sustainable leather. This palm leather can then create rugs that look much like animal leather. The rugs production method is laying thin strips of palm leather and attaching them to a woven base. Every rug is different, as any inconsistencies or folds are left to provide unique patterns.

Veenhoven first started working on his palm leather using samples from India. He discovered that it could function well as a textile after softening it. The fibres are initially brittle, but the designer uses a mixture of glycerin and water in order to soften them enough for textile use. The supple nature of the leather also makes it ideal for shaping into rugs upon custom woven bases.

The palm leather is now produced in the Dominican Republic. Alongside the rugs, Veenhoven also hopes to sell the material in its own right. The vegan community is on the rise, with many consumers becoming more aware of the ramifications of their purchasing habits. Veenhoven himself continues to experiment with alternative materials in his studio in the northern Holland.



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