Leather goods: La Tannerie Végétale invents eco-friendly faux leather

Forced by the protection of the term “leather”, designating a tanned animal skin, the Lyon start-up La Tannerie Végétale cannot call its invention “vegetable leather”, reserved for skins treated with plant compounds – and not chemicals. Its product, whose name has not yet been registered, therefore belongs to the family of similis, but achieves the feat of reproducing the look and texture of leather “Only with vegetable proteins, where Skai is a petrochemical product. And where alternatives based on pineapple, grapes, mango, are also mixed with polyurethanes, therefore not recyclable ”, Explain Jim Goudineau, co-founder of La Tannerie Végétale with Fanny Deleage.

This vegetarian engineer worked on fake meat before taking an interest in vegan leather goods. With the Engineering laboratory of polymer materials at the University of Saint-Etienne, she has developed the formula which allows to reconstitute the molecular structure of leather with a cocktail of bio-based proteins. Of “Seed extracts” from animal feed residues, is content to deliver Jim Goudineau.

Non-polluting and recyclable

The thermomechanical process, on machines for industrial use, does not require chemical additives or water. It is compatible with volumes of several tons per day. The final price will be aligned with high-end leathers.

La Tannerie Végétale opens its capital to Satt Pulsalys up to 5%, before fundraising in the order of one million euros planned within a few months to finance a workshop in the Lyon region. After having characterized its material: resistance to friction, water, tearing, biodegradability …, it is preparing to deliver the first samples to luxury leather goods manufacturers and young ethical brands, curious to discover “A 100% plant-based, non-polluting and recyclable material”.

The result, smooth, “Colder than leather” to the touch, can be embellished with a grained or croco aspect… This product will be available in black and various shades of brown “But never in fancy colors”, involving dyes. According to Jim Goudineau, the only 100% vegetable competitor, the American MycoWorks, which raised 45 million dollars mid-November, “Is developing a mushroom-based technology that is difficult to industrialize, because it is dependent on the speed of growth”.

The invention

Creation date : 2020

DG: Jim Goudineau

Effective : 3 people

Sector: leather goods

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