It’s time for animal leather to step aside. Cactus by KEVA is here with a collection of vegan leather goods that proves there’s much more to leather than animal hide. This leather is organic, animal-friendly, sustainable and vegan. It’s also PETA-certified, made in the U.S. — oh, and it looks amazing, too.
Processing animal leather is a toxic process that involves chemicals like formaldehyde, cyanide, chromium and lead. These chemicals are commonly used by tanneries, which create waste that can contaminate the water nearby. Statistics from the CDC show that people who live near tanneries are more likely to contract serious diseases, such as cancer. All the chemicals, stiffeners and additives used to process leather also make it nearly impossible to biodegrade. This is only a part of how animal-based leather negatively impacts the environment. Collections like Cactus are working toward changing all that.
The leather comes from the Nopal cactus, a plant perhaps better known as the prickly pear. It’s grown on an organic ranch in Mexico. The process is pretty simple; mature leaves are taken from the plant, cut and then placed in the sunlight to dry naturally for three days. No more energy than that is needed to create this vegan leather.
There is no irrigation system on the ranch. Rainwater and natural minerals from the Zacatecas region of Mexico are all that feed these plants. Even with repeat harvesting, prickly pear plants last for eight years.
The leather is created from the leaves, then processed with KEVA’s patented formula to create a highly durable, flexible and beautiful leather product. The Cactus collection uses this vegan leather for beautifully and sustainably designed earrings, bracelets, watches and key rings.
KEVA was created by Eva Harris and Ginny Ball, who began the company because they wanted lightweight, beautiful leather earrings. Every piece of jewelry is hand-made in their Richmond, Virginia workshop. These vegan leather accessories can be purchased on Amazon, at boutiques around the U.S. and on the KEVA website.
Images via KEVA