The Leather industry is one of the most polluting, using huge volumes of chemical products and water and artificial leather made by fossil fuel-derived PU also has drawbacks. Thus, there is a need to investigate new, ecological materials with the same functionalities.
In the project, vegan apple leather made from bio-based oils from algae instead of conventional PU will be used. The partnership will produce a capsule collection of vegan leather jackets to showcase sustainable faux leather. The objective of the project is to improve the ecological footprint of apple skin by replacing PU faux Leather. Even though is not the first time this material has been implemented, the partnership aims to use Algae and manage it like Apple leather.
OSIER and Mabel want to introduce to you, ALMA, the first vegan leather jacket created from apple skin developed with bio-based oils derived from algae. Our goal for this project is focusing on the development of greener high-performance materials. To even further improve the ecological footprint of the apple skin material, we strive to replace the polyurethane, or in short – PU – with a bio-based oil derived from algae. Here is where our project ALMA starts. Using biotechnology to harness the power of nature, we will create a process revolving around fermenting algae to produce novel bio-based oils for use in materials used in the fashion industry and an expanding number of other applications. The fermented algae has a far lower environmental impact than the petroleum-derived products that they replace, helping to tackle climate change and reduce the use of toxic chemicals. Only 14 fatty acids are used as material building blocks across the majority of industries; however, hundreds of fatty acids exist in nature, yet these remain largely unexplored. By expanding the palette of available building blocks, we can then apply novel chemistries to create materials with desired physical properties such as high-performance polyurethanes made from bio-based oils. Naturally-derived molecular building blocks offer a number of useful attributes for materials science, with a significantly smaller carbon footprint, yet these remain largely unexplored or under-utilised. OSIER is a conscious luxury label born with the idea of creating an independent brand that lives for sustainability and ethical design. Our products always grow from a foundation of values and beliefs. Therefore our creations are hand manufactured in Europe using the finest vegan materials, implementing classic and timeless designs. OSIER is constantly exploring innovative ways to bring the sustainable concept closer and closer to the final purpose. With a design-centric approach, we ask the question, “How can we make better products and drive a positive impact?”. That’s how the collaboration with Mabel, an Italian manufacturer of apple peel material, came to life, bringing the innovation and sustainability together.
THE BIRTH OF THE PROJECT
At OSIER we consider ourselves lucky to have had a strong relationship with Mabel prior to the partnership. We initiated a conversation on how to further enhance the sustainability of their apple leather since this is one of our primal goals: to further minimise our environmental footprint with every collection and innovate within the realms of sustainability Osier and Mabel want to introduce to you, ALMA, the vegan leather jacket created from apple skin. This project is the fruit of a collaboration between two forces of innovation and sustainability. We previously tested the apple skin material in our latest accessory collection and are impressed by its texture, durability, and leather-like qualities. Using this experience from our ongoing partnership with Mabel, along with a newly defined use case and application, we now strive to design, prototype and test a new, even more sustainable material, created with next-generation polyurethanes. The new material is durable, with a texture very similar to real leather, but none of the harmful implications to animals, people and the environment that leather has. Compared to leather, our newly designed apple skin uses less water and chemicals and has a lower CO2 footprint too. The collaboration of the industry-leading material developer Mabel and the design team of OSIER aims to deliver unique, inspiring technologies and materials to conceive the next generation of high-performance products. To drive innovation it’s imperative to unite expertise from various sectors and work together. We have made great experiences in the past when collaborating with suppliers. They can turn ideas into products quickly while we understand market demands and communicate directly with our consumers. In combining both aspects we can drive innovation forward rapidly. Based on this new and improved material, we will design and manufacture a vegan leather jacket capsule collection to introduce this new eco-material to the market.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS
“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.“ Theodore Levitt We designed the jacket with the goal of the project in mind: to stress test a new and innovative material. This can best be conducted when exposing this new material to the elements and various conditions. The process starts with our moodboard which unveils what repercussions our society is leaving behind and the reasons we strive for a better, innovative alternative. Moving forward we include a concept board, inspiration and design elements that help us establish what kind of pattern we should use and how versatile we will like our product to be. In the end we choose one design that sticks out to us – the one that will be turned into a timeless classic staple piece. ALMA is a capsule wardrobe staple, designed and inspired by the critical element: the one that we should all change to make our ground more stable. Our design respects the tradition of the leather handcraft, by bringing it to a level where we can involve concepts such as sustainability and kindness. ALMAs creative portfolio introduces our brand values together with our timeless aesthetics. Since OSIER is a label born in Amsterdam, we felt it would be suitable for us to use this newly created material based on bio-oils to create a leather jacket, perfect for a bike ride through the city in the summer rain. We combine our Amsterdam heritage with Italian craftsmanship in this project, enhancing both factors through material innovation. In doing that, we bring the leather heritage into the 21st century, combining the traditional look and feel of the material with the ethical and ecological aspects of a plants-based alternative to the animal derived material. The fragility of our life hangs on the powerful decision we choose to make every day, confronting us with the question of how much we take and how little we give back. How much we are able to judge a product, not only by its colour and texture, but also by the morals that stand behind it. Our design respects the tradition of the leather handcraft, by bringing it to a level where we can involve concepts such as sustainability and kindness , where our personal choices don’t exclude the freedom of others. Apple leather stands as an example and shows us the importance of bringing back to life something that once we considered just a WASTE.
To drive innovation it’s imperative to unite expertise from various sectors and work together. We have made great experiences in the past when collaborating with suppliers. They can turn ideas into products quickly while we understand market demands and communicate directly with our consumers. In combining both aspects we can drive innovation forward rapidly.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Abraham Lincoln At OSIER and MABEL we aim high. We acknowledge the ecological problems of our present and want to tackle it with our innovative leather-like material. This material is eco-friendly, as it grows in nature and contains zero fossil residues. If the trial run of creating a first prototype is successful we will deepen our material research further and test this new material for a long period. To be released into the market the material will need to pass some criteria, since our long term goal for this new bio-based vegan leather is to be distributed and used in other sectors outside the fashion industry: automotive and healthcare to name a few. For these sectors, certain certifications and tests are necessary. A great benefit of this new material is scalability: the possible applications exceed the fashion industry. Within the fashion industry, OSIER will be the party to launch that innovative material into the market and drive market demand through press publications and marketing efforts. And last but not least, the research on our ALMA jacket can open a wide range of industrial appliances, where the synergy of different industries can help create a better world for the future with a completely new sustainable material. This will be the first time that the improved apple skin is used in the apparel industry, moving it out of the accessory niche and opening it up to a variety of potential sectors outside of fashion such as healthcare, furniture, and the automotive industry. The new material is durable, with a texture very similar to real leather, but none of the harmful implications to animals, people and the environment that leather has. Compared to leather, our newly designed apple skin uses less water and chemicals and has a lower CO2 footprint too. Another aspect that seems to be increasingly important for conscious consumers is the importance of not only the ethical treatment of animals but every individual involved in the supply chain and manufacturing process. By producing locally under highest workers welfare standards, we not only take the environment but also social sustainability and European craftsmanship into consideration.
“If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” Cory Booker
For OSIER the power of innovation consists in the acknowledgement that each collaboration should include complementary, experienced perspectives. We arrive at the point where competition should be replaced by partnership, extending our individual knowledge and creating meaningful connection. Working together allows us to see beyond our area of craft enlarging our hopes and bringing to life this innovative fabric. ALMAs mission: Conscious Luxury – crafted with purpose.