Leukeather is a vegan alternative to exotic leather, developed by UAE-based Egyptian architect Nuhayr Zein. The material is made from the dried pods of Leucaena, also known as river tamarind.
Leucaena is a tree native to northern Central America and southern Mexico. It is fast-growing, requires little water, and is already present on many farms.
“We take pride in literally working with nature to enhance its performance using biotechnology”
To make the leather, farmers gather dried pods and supply them to Leukeather. The company then uses biotechnology to improve the suppleness and flexibility of the pods, creating a material that is naturally waterproof and plastic-free. Leukeather is said to be the only vegan leather that does not require embossing to obtain a leather-like texture, as the Leucaena pods give it a natural pattern.
Exotic vegan leather
A huge variety of vegan leather alternatives are now available, but few are focused on replicating exotic leather. This could give Leukeather a key advantage over the competition, especially as many fashion houses — including Mulberry and Brooks Brothers — are banning exotic skins. A report by Material Innovations earlier this year only found one other company worldwide developing alternatives.
“We take pride in literally working with nature to enhance its performance using biotechnology to accommodate our planet’s needs,” said Leukeather on its website. “Leukeather is considerate of people, animals, and our planet as a whole.”