With the purpose of creating an alternative to animal leather, Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez, both hailing from Mexico, developed vegan leather made with nopal (a cactus also known as the prickly pear), which they successfully showcased last October 2019 in Milan, Italy. Its trade name is Desserto® and it has competitive features compared to animal or synthetic leather, like sustainability, performance and aesthetics.
Adrian and Marte had the idea after working in the furniture, automotive and fashion industries where they identified that the problem of environmental pollution was very serious. As a result, they were genuinely interested in reducing environmental impact, so they decided to leave their jobs and start Adriano Di Marti, a company to focus on developing Desserto®, which nowadays is known as cactus (or nopal) vegan leather.
Desserto® is a highly sustainable plant based vegan leather made from cactus, often distinguished by its great softness at touch while offering a great performance for a wide variety of applications and complying with the most rigorous quality and environmental standards. The aim is to offer cruelty free, sustainable alternatives, without any toxic chemicals, phthalates and PVC. The result is partially biodegradable. Produced in a large variety of colors, thicknesses and textures Desserto® can exceed the demands of an ever-evolving industry.
While Desserto® has the technical specifications required by the fashion, leather goods, luxury packaging and furniture industries, Deserttex® is an automotive exclusive material which aim is to provide premium brands a highly sustainable cactus-based material which performs to the standards of the industry.
In the state of Zacatecas, México, Adrian and Marte have a ranch where they grow the raw material: cactus. At the ranch they select and cut only the mature leaves of the plant without damaging the cactus itself, so every 6-8 months they will a new harvest. Also, they do not use an irrigation system for the cactus, it grows with rain water and the earth minerals which are rich in Zacatecas and great for the nopal cactus. The selected cactus is very resilient and strong, it can handle low temperatures during winter without dying and its thorns are very small so it’s easier and safer for our agriculture team to harvest. The ranch is fully organic, so there are no herbicides nor pesticides used. All the remaining organic cactus material not used in their process is exported and sold nationally in the food industry.
Adriano Di Marti’s new materials are interesting and clever solutions with a lot of potential. The results of this research show us once again how it is possible to tackle issues related to sustainability and recycling, within an industrial production. If you want to see other examples of new sustainable materials click here.