Let’s get rid of leather salons forever.

There are environmentally and animal-friendly alternatives and they are constantly improving.

Sustainable materials have come a long way in recent years. However, their main development does not come from car companies, but from fashion ones. They impose specialized organic, renewable, recycled and other sustainable materials, and there are already many fantastic, luxurious, durable textiles. Bamboo, recycled plastic and even the modest hemp plant can be turned into a magnificent fabric without cruelty.

One material that is already being avoided in the fashion industry is leather, with the exception of the rare places where recycled or recycled material is used sparingly. Leather is a terrible substance, and its production is responsible for the huge climate footprint, deforestation, biodiversity loss, water consumption and pollution. This is the opinion of all experts in the fashion industry.

Call it whatever you want – faux leather, faux leather, vegan leather, eco leather – car companies have been making and using imitations of animal skins for years and these materials continue to improve. MB-Tex upholstery, for example, based on vinyl in the old GLK was one of the first. It is extremely durable and is not “afraid” of children, dogs and years in the sun. Today, she is still pleasant to the touch and good looking.

Of course, not all artificial skins are created the same. Many are plastic-based, such as polyurethane and PVC, which have their own life-cycle and carbon footprint problems (even recycled plastics can release microfiber and end up in landfills).

However, many of them are plant-based, and new, promising sources are being developed. Materials of pineapple, apple, cactus and mushrooms are already used in the fashion industry. The rest are made from recycled materials, reducing the need for new plastic production and helping to divert materials from premature travel to landfills – or worse, in our oceans and soil.

Of course, there are some delicate situations in which many will feel that only real skin is appropriate. The leathers used by Bentley, for example, are ultra premium, and the craftsmanship that goes into integrating them into the car’s interior is unsurpassed. But many bulls die – up to 20 per vehicle – to give the super-rich an acceptable throne on which to fart in pure luxury.

We can’t imagine a Bentley customer who isn’t a connoisseur of expensive leather, even though the material made from the skins of Italian wine grapes also sounds luxurious, doesn’t it? Fortunately, there are other approaches that do not try to copy the appearance and feel of the skin and also look and feel luxurious. It’s all a matter of thinking. And car companies are gradually beginning to think in this direction.

As Land Rover’s color and materials design manager Hannah Custans says: “Customers start to think differently when we get them to think about the environmental impact they have. This gives us a lot of challenges, but also a lot of positive design changes. ” As such, the carmaker is working on a leather-free interior for its ultra-luxury SUVs. “This is a technical feeling for the interior, it is not an alternative to leather. It’s different, it’s the customer’s choice. I think this was really important for us to make sure it was a luxury offer. This is not a lower class option. ”

Carmakers are starting to offer more options as their customers want options without cruelty and less carbon-intensive ones. Car manufacturers themselves, as evidenced by their “turn” to electric vehicles, are also thinking about their responsibility. Volvo, for example, has created its Nordico material, made from recycled plastic bottles, recycled cork and ‘organic material’, as an alternative to leather in the next generation of vehicles.

They will also still offer wool fabrics as a high-end alternative. The Swedes also offer the vegan interior Weavetech on Polestar 2, although a Nappa leather option is available for this car. Of course, in this regard, Tesla is the brand that paved the way years ago with its vegan interior. Mini is another brand that completely removes itself from the skin. Fisker will also use a lot of recycled materials in its interiors.

It’s the same with the Kia EV6. Subaru, Porsche and many others. Mercedes-Benz has been offering MB-Tex for years, and has just unveiled its Vision EQXX concept, which uses mycelium (the fungus equivalent to the root structure of plants) as a seating surface and Deserttex cactus skin for other surfaces. The BMW IX has microfiber fabric along with eco-leather dyed with olive leaf extracts instead of harsh chemicals.

Skin is not a necessity. This is a problematic luxury. Fortunately, less problematic options increase in number and quality. It seems natural that more favorable for animals and our planet materials will take the place of calfskin in the interior and your car. And knowing how great some of these materials can be and the benefits of using them, we hope this change comes quickly – and completely.

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