Leather is at the top of the toxic list when it comes to manufacturing practices for textiles. Plus, traditional leather is not an acceptable option for animal-lovers. Synthetic leather alternatives have not been particularly Earth-friendly, either. Miomojo, a premier Italian fashion brand, set out to change all that with vegan leather bags made from sustainable and natural materials.
The initial releases in the Prima Linea lineup are made using apple peels and cores that are otherwise cast off from the food industry. Diverting this waste into apple leather has allowed the company to design durable, luxurious handbags, draw-close bucket bags and classic totes.
Subsequently, the company recently released purses in two color options that are made from cactus leather. Seeing the welcome response from customers has inspired the company to continue developing other alternatives such as bio-based certified Corn Leather, which will be added to the collection soon.
Miomojo founder Claudia Pievani explained her initial motivation saying, “I was earning a good salary and enjoyed all the trappings of success, but still I felt that I was not fulfilling my mission.” Leather has long been a quality material in the world of handbags, but she felt the environmental and animal tradeoff wasn’t even close to being worth it. “I’ve always been fascinated by fashion, design and beautiful things, but was growing increasingly frustrated that these products often came at the expense of innocent living beings.” So she set out to find alternatives that didn’t sacrifice quality, design or animals. “Thus, I began my personal odyssey to provide cruelty-free, affordable alternatives to my fellow animal lovers, all with an Italian sensibility and style.”
From the beginning, giving back to animal protection organizations was essential to Pievani, who had seen moon bears rescued from the bear bile industry when she visited Animals Asia and witnessed the organization’s efforts first-hand. As a result, Miomojo has donated over $200,000 to the organization and also benefits other charities including Mercy for Animals, FOUR PAWS and numerous farm sanctuaries around the world. In all, the company donates 10% of net profits to animal welfare associations and is also a contributing member of 1% for the Planet. Miomojo is currently in the process of becoming a certified B Corporation, which recognizes the highest standards of social and environmental performances.
Pievani is happy to see other companies stepping up to improve sustainable practices, especially those that are helping to redefine what luxury means. “True sustainability is respect,” Pievani said. “Respect for humanity, respect for the environment and for animals. Aesthetics and ethics can and must coexist.”
But she’s not done pushing the envelope. By 2022, the company plans to make all products from sustainable materials such as recycled fishing nets, glass, plastic bottles and even innovative new materials like coffee grounds. The company also has plans to open its own animal rescue center.
Images via Miomojo