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The Apple Leather Revolution - From Orchard to Wardrobe

$600 is a LOT of money for a backpack. When we set out to build a luxury version of the LTT Backpack, we wanted to deliver a premium product with a distinct look, robust and resilient construction, and special material that provides great performance and a certain je ne sais quoi.

After significant research, testing, and discussion… we decided on Apple Leather - a fantastic faux leather alternative that utilizes existing waste material AND minimizes some of the downsides of traditional leather imitators.

When it comes to sustainable and cruelty-free leather alternatives, two options stand out: traditional faux leather and apple leather. Traditional faux leather - often made from synthetic materials like PU (polyurethane) or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) - mimics the look of leather but has environmental drawbacks due to its reliance on crude oil for manufacturing, like any plastic production process. 

On the other hand, apple leather is an exciting and eco-friendly alternative crafted from apple waste - like peels and cores - which reduces agricultural waste by making use of leftover organic materials. It provides a “genuine leather-like” appearance while championing sustainable practices, making it a fantastic choice for consumers seeking ethical leather alternatives.


Introducing Apple Leather

This innovative material has the potential to revolutionize “leather-like” production and its impact on the environment. Enter Mabel, the Italian company responsible for the apple leather used in our Luxe Backpacks. They’re a leading manufacturer in this exciting and evolving textile category.

For over 45 years, Mabel has been a key player in the realm of leather alternatives. Situated in South Tyrol, a region home to over 7,000 apple farms, they have access to a substantial amount of waste materials generated during apple juice production. These residual peels, cores, and dehydrated pulp - once composted, or even incinerated in cases where the volume of waste was too large - are now breathing new life into the fashion industry, reducing waste and supporting local Italian apple farmers.


Why Apple Leather Stands Out

Apple leather is not the only fruit suitable for leather-alternative materials, but several factors make it particularly appealing:

  1. Year-Round Availability: Apples are available throughout the year, offering a consistent and reliable source for production.
  1. Waste Reduction: Apple waste is a significant issue, with tons of peels, cores, and dehydrated pulp being discarded or destroyed.
  1. Eco-Friendly Process: The preparation and processing of apple waste involves physical methods - such as grinding and drying - rather than chemical solutions, minimizing harmful byproducts and additional waste materials. This approach significantly reduces the environmental impact of production.

The Closed Loop System

Mabel leads the way in adopting a closed loop system that not only minimizes waste but also reduces their carbon footprint. They recover and reuse all the water used in the production process through a sophisticated pipe system leading to a distillation tower. This process enables them to continually reuse process waters and chemicals in mass production, saving both CO2 emissions and waste management costs that would otherwise be associated with burning apple waste. Consequently, apple waste replaces oil-based materials that go into typical PU leather production, making their process more sustainable.


From Orchard to Fabric: The Production Process

Apple leather at Mabel follows a traditional faux leather construction, with a woven textile back made up of polyester (25%) and cotton (19%), along with a surface coating mix of polyurethane (34%) and apple waste (22%). It takes approximately 10.5 apples to create the 1.975 meters of apple leather that we use in the production of each backpack.

The apple leather material not only benefits the environment but also complies with REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals) standards, ensuring its production doesn't pose risks to human health or the environment. Being PVC-free is another advantage, reducing environmental harm, health risks, and supporting sustainability by using eco-friendly, renewable resources instead of potentially toxic and non-renewable PVC. It's an excellent choice for those concerned about the environmental impact of their fashion choices.

Not only is apple leather an eco-conscious choice, but it's also remarkably durable when given proper care. At LTTstore.com, we understand that longevity is a crucial factor for any fashion item. That's why we've put apple leather to the test, subjecting it to rigorous evaluations to ensure it stands up to everyday wear and tear. Our testing procedures assessed its resistance to abrasion using a martindale tester surpassing over 10000 rubs, fading in artificial light receiving a grade of 4.5 (out of 5) after 20 hours AFU (Accelerated Fading Units), resistance to staining in both wet and dry conditions receiving a grade of 4.5 (out of 5), and accelerated aging (in both heat and elevated humidity conditions). Apple leather has passed these examinations, assuring you that it's not only sustainable but also a long-lasting and reliable choice for your wardrobe.

Apple leather represents a sustainable and innovative solution that addresses the environmental concerns associated with traditional leather production. At LTTstore.com, we are committed to making a positive impact on the clothing industry by carefully selecting environmentally conscious alternatives and being mindful of our global footprint. Stay tuned for more insights into the world of sustainable fashion and materials!


Conclusion

Hope you came away just a bit smarter than you were before you read this. Not everyone is a giga-baller buying the cream of the crop when it comes to accessories like a backpack, but one thing we do think you might want to splurge a bit on… is the all new LTT x Noctua Screwdriver collab. It’s the same fantastic driver you know and love, with 2 variations of an unmistakable color scheme.

We can only continue investing in new projects with innovative materials like this thanks to the incredible support we see daily on products like the Screwdriver, so thank you again for your continued support.