A new leather alternative made from giant tropical leaves is taking the accessory design world by storm. Called beLEAF, the material appears to be one of the most promising developments in sustainable materials yet – and is already on the desks of accessory designers at Prada, Hermès, Nike, Gucci and others.
beLEAF was created by Brazilian firm, Nova Kaeru, and differs from other sustainable materials in that it does not aspire to look exactly like leather. According to Nova Kaeru’s director, Paulo Amaury: “We tried to make this look as close as possible to the actual leaf in nature. We wanted the veins of the leaf to show up.”
Hailing from the elephant ear plant, the material will be sold per leaf rather than in rolls of yardage. The elephant ear is a typical garden variety plant in tropical environments, found in parts of Asia and even Miami. In Brazil, however, the plant’s leaves grow to massive sizes. According to Amaury, the average leaf they sell varies between three and five square feet – enough material for a small handbag, with good planning.
Read more about this remarkable material in the full article here.