7 Reasons You’ll Love Desserto Cactus Fabric

What if you could make an animal-friendly leather-like fabric that was breathable and environmentally sustainable?

Mexican inventors Adrián López Velarde (auto industry) and Marte Cázarez (fashion industry) have discovered a way to make this dream come true.

Move over pleather, there’s a new textile in town. They’ve invented a breathable, natural vegan material made from cactus paddles! In Zacatecas, 27 farmers produce nopal cactus (Opuntia cacti) for the company.

Seven reasons you’ll love their green product:

7. Cactus is a renewable resource. The mature paddles are harvested from the organic plants, and in six months new ones regrow.

6. Nopal fabric can be used for clothing, handbags, car upholstery, chairs, and more.

5. Up until now the fashion industry was the second largest polluter in the world. Non-toxic compounds and natural dyes are used to make nopal material, rather than the noxious chemicals needed to make animal leather (formaldehyde and chromium) or pleather (phthalates).

4. Traditional leather and pleather do not break down over time. Desserto fabric is partially biodegradable.

3. Cow leather would add more methane to the .atmosphere. However, the cactus farms help capture CO2.

2. Many gallons of water are saved; nopal cactus need no irrigation to grow, unlike cows who drink 1800 gallons/yr. = 6814 liters. The processing to generate the cactus fabric takes very little water too.

1. No animal byproducts needed; cruelty-free. Yet, the vegan Desserto fabric is durable, flexible and breathable. Only plants are sacrificed for this style.

In October of last year, the creators of Desserto took their new invention to the Milan Lineapelle conference, to rave reviews. They’ve returned to Guadalajara to make more fabric to fill orders. López Velarde and Marte Cázarez’ goal is to produce at least 200,000 linear meters of their vegan “leather” by 2020. I hope their product finds its way around the world soon.

So that is how with ingenuity mexicano an important symbol from the Mexican flag became a green alternative, money producing, job creator.

If you’d like to see Desserto’s informational video, please click on their website.

Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco! ¡Olé! –Rebecca

Nopales cactus  Photo: Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble



Rebecca Cuningham

19 thoughts on “7 Reasons You’ll Love Desserto Cactus Fabric

    1. Yes, I was thrilled to find out about it and will give an update once I find their product is on sale in stores. Love the ingenuity of the Mexican inventors to use a readily available resource (a symbol from the tri-color flag no less!)

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  1. This is great news.

    There was this amazing pleather fabric I used to look for everywhere, a vegan shoe company called Freerangers.co.uk used to use it for their shoes and handbags (maybe they still do). I can’t remember the name of it! But at the time I looked online for ages, they only seemed to sell it direct (in person?) out of an Italian warehouse (as far as I could tell). But it was much like you describe – it was breathable, and it was also durable, and it looked and felt much like the real thing.

    Will be very happy if you post a follow up on this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like a unique and superb idea Rebecca. Thank you for bringing forth this information. We need to protect those animals that are most in danger.

    Liked by 1 person

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