Apple leather bags still aren’t very well known by many luxury fashion consumers. But Louis Lucano is set to change that!
By Chere Di Boscio
Vegan leather still isn’t well regarded by many sustainable consumers. They consider it plasticky and cheap. Which certainly can be true, if you’re buying a ‘vegan leather’ bag at H&M or Mango, for example.
But guess what? There are luxury versions of vegan leathers, too. And apple leather is one great example.
A Brief History Of Apple Leather
Who’d have thought 20 years ago that we could make great leather alternatives from food waste?
In case you’re not familiar with vegan leathers made from waste, let me give you a quick breakdown.
Apple leather, also known as AppleSkin,™ is the brainchild of Italian inventor Alberto Volcan. He noted his country generated a whole lot of apple waste from fruit juice and compote production in Northern Italy. And he decided to put it to good use.
His first creation was a kind of eco-friendly paper. Compared to other papers, its CO2 impact was 20%-25% less. That was just the beginning, though! He teamed up with Frumat, a company specialising in the recycling of industrial waste, to further his dreams.
One of the first projects developed was a vegetable glue. Although it wasn’t successful, he didn’t give up, and instead decided to place the glue in a pasta machine to see what happened. And that resulting sheet of material became the basis of the luxury fabric we know as apple leather today.
Frumat developed the concept even further. And today, ecological, breathable, waterproof and durable apple leather is a real game changer in the world of luxury fashion.
How Apple Leather Is Made
Luxury apple leather is made by reducing apple waste to a powder. It then goes to a factory in Florence, where it’s mixed with polyurethane and coated onto a cotton and polyester canvas.
The ratio is usually 50% apple waste mixed with 50% PU. Apple waste is a completely renewable resource, and has a much lower CO2 impact than cheap vegan leathers made from 100% fossil fuels.
Yes, it’s unfortunate that plastic is used in bio-based leathers. But so far, without it, the materials wouldn’t endure the general wear of everyday life. Extending the lifecycle of a product is important.
That being said, plant-based PU is developing fast, and as this technology progresses, the use of plastics will reduce significantly.
No Animals Harmed
When you think about it, the way we torture and kill animals for fashion is really sick. That’s something that Julia, the founder of Louis Lucano, agrees with strongly.
“Animal welfare is a top priority for our brand. We’re trying to show how designer bags can also be sewn from non-animal materials,” she says.
That’s why since 2019, Julia has been working on creating highly covetable apple leather bags. Her mission is to get people away from the idea that luxury leather goods have to be exclusively made of genuine animal leather. She also uses Desserto®, a leather alternative based on cacti, in her work.
For those who are still under the impression that leather is somehow more ‘eco-friendly’ than plant-based leathers, know this. According to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Materials Sustainability Index (HMSI), leathers have an environmental impact of 176. That’s mainly due to animals’ contribution to deforestation, and water use. Not to mention the pollution caused by tanning and dyeing leathers.
The impact of leather on the planet is really high! Especially when compared to polyurethane based fabrics, which only score 29.9 on the HMSI.
A Focus On Ethical Production
Unfortunately, many vegan brands may be using more eco-friendly materials, but their goods are often made in China, which is rarely an ethical move.
This is what differentiates Louis Lucano.
All of their luxurious apple leather bags and other accessories are produced in Italy under fair working conditions. In fact, even their packaging is made in Italy! It consists of 100% sustainable and recycled raw materials, and a portion of all sales goes to animal welfare organisations.
The quality standards of the founder are very high. She only makes timeless, elegant bags that enhance any outfit, for decades to come.
Since all of her apple leather bags are handmade, they are available in limited quantities to avoid overproduction. Surplus material is used for other products, such as card cases. A Louis Lucano handbag is a fashion investment piece which should last for years.
Fast Fashion Is Our Enemy
Julia believes the appreciation for craftsmanship has been lost in current society. That’s especially true in the fashion industry, where industrial fast fashion still dominates.
With fast fashion, quality never matters, because what gets broken can be bought again cheaply and quickly. The biggest problem we face is this, according to Julia. “Many consumers are not informed, there is no transparency. In this context, the questionable working conditions of well-known brands, the exploitation of animals and the planet can be discussed forever.”
“This is exactly where we attack,” she continues. “We not only communicate transparency about materials, their origins and production, but also inform our buyers about the right product care and material handling, so that each bag can last a lifetime. Our mission is not only to be a fashion label, but also to bring change to this industry.”
And Louis Lucano is doing just that, one apple at a time.
For more information on Louis Lucano luxury apple leather bags, click here.