Sporting a cactus – The Hindu


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Leather pouches and wallets made from the spiny plants lend a luxurious feel and help cut plastic pollution

A cactus can do a lot more than prick; it can also be your handbag. Worried about the plastic pollution crisis, Mexico-based Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez put on their thinking sombreros and created the first ever cactus-based leather, under their brand Desserto, in 2019.

Closer home, Shivani Patel, founder of accessory brand Arture, is giving shape to this novel form of vegan leather for her new collection that comprises utility pouches, money clip wallets and women’s wallets. After working with cork, this is the first time Arture is experimenting with a different vegan fabric. “Cactus leather is more luxurious to touch. It has a leather-like hand feel and it is slimmer compared to cork,” she explains.

This material is a fairly new development, says Shivani whose interest piqued after family and friends sent her a few WhatsApp forwards about this ingenious vegan leather. She started reading about it, and in March 2020 ordered a few samples from Mexico. The samples arrived by July, swatches in black, berry red and forest green, colours that are part of the final collection. “We were impressed with it. The green and red has a bit more shine to it; more gloss and sheen while the black has a grainy texture,” she says.

Overall, compared to cork, cactus leather is more flexible and lends well to drapey silhouettes. As a result Shivani is now working on a range of belts. “This material has a huge connect with us as a brand. Just like you don’t cut down a tree for cork, it is the same with cactus where a portion of the plant is cut off, but it regenerates.” she adds.

Price range starts at ₹2,000. For details, visit

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