From ancient times, leather has been humanity’s go-to material for crafting everything from primitive footwear to rudimentary satchels. Today, it has morphed into a US$350.7 billion industry, making its way into an entire range of products.
Perhaps it’s testament to the mass appeal of leather, but the devastation it wrecks on the planet and the sheer number of animals sacrificed in the name of vanity is untenable. Surely we can all get dressed or carry our belongings without having to skin an innocent animal?
Thankfully there’s been a rise in companies making plant-based leather, and it’s fast being adopted across the fashion industry.
“As environmental concerns grow, major brands have begun backing the plant-based movement and producing vegan versions of men’s leather goods,” noted our plant-based trends report for 2022.
From boots to laptop sleeves and even a full leather jacket, here are our picks on the sexiest men’s vegan leather products out on the market right now.
Desert Boots by Nae
Leather aficionados generally fall under two camps: those that like it sleek and shiny and those that love it looking aged and somewhat distressed. If you prefer the latter then we’ve got some good news: Pinatex, which is made from pineapple leaf fibres, has that similar crumpled texture. Portuguese shoemakers Nae turn this plant-based leather into a range of shoes and the lace up desert boots have caught our eye. Besides its rustic aesthetic, the Pinatex is also known to be naturally water-resistant, making it the natural material of choice for stylish footwear.
Acacia Backpack by Labante London
Photo: Labante London
Backpacks have been given a fashionable facelift ever since high end labels like Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta sent them down the runways in 2015. Gone are its collegiate connotations as grown men began matching these bags with their suits and formal work attire. Now in 2022, we’re happy to say that vegan leather versions are being created with minimal impact on the planet. This Acacia Backpack by Peta-approved vegan brand Labante London is one such stunning example. The leather is made from vegetable by-products and polyurethane while the interiors are crafted from recycled plastic bottles. Its straps are comfortably padded which makes this bag the ideal companion whether you’re on a long commute on the subway or on a long hike out in nature.
River leather jacket by Deadwood
So you wanna look badass without involving the slaughter of any animals? Deadwood Studios is your answer. The Swedish brand has a range of vegan leather products made out of organic cactus – and that includes men’s leather jackets in four colorways: black, green, red and beige. The silhouette is closely cut to the body that almost recalls the heady rockabilly days of Dior under Hedi Slimane. The jacket stops right around the hip and sports a button flap at the bottom rather than a belted fastener to keep you looking sharp.
Laptop sleeve by Oliver Company London
Photo: Oliver Company London
Post-pandemic, work has taken on a whole new meaning. Entire industries have now gone mobile and with that, comes the need to move around with your laptop safely. But ditch that generic (read: ugly) standard issue nylon bag and slot it into one of these sexy laptop sleeves by Oliver Company London. It’s crafted entirely out of apple leather – a material made from apple waste sourced from Italy’s fruit juice and compote industry. Despite the sleeve’s seemingly thin size, it comes with protective padding to keep your laptop safe from scratches and boasts a simple minimalist design that will look right at home both in a cafe and in the boardroom.
The Classic Duffle by Mahi Leather
Photo: Mahi Leather