Peruvian startup Le Qara has created a vegan alternative to leather that’s biodegradable, zero-waste, and made from microorganisms.
The brand recently made it to the finals of the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition – and scooped $55,000 last year when winning the Latam 100K competition in November.
Founded by sisters Jacqueline and Isemar Cruz, the company describes its vegan leather as ‘high quality [and] high resistance’ with the ‘same breathability as animal leather’.
The ‘slaughter-free’ material is made from microorganisms that are fed plant and fruit residue – which is then bio-engineered in order to change its texture and thickness.
The leftover residue can then be used as a liquid compost – making the process completely zero-waste and circular.
According to Contxto, CEO Jacqueline Cruz said: “The leather industry is the fourth most polluting industry [in the world].
“It kills nearly four billion animals. It uses 400 billion liters of water [anually]. For example, to make a pair of leather shoes you need approximately 8,000 liters of water.”