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Mimco has added vegan ‘apple leather’ to its range

WORDS BY MAEVE KERR-CROWLEY

A PETA-approved initiative.

As we all collectively get wise to the devastating impact our society’s actions can have on the planet, it’s fallen on brands to find more ethical ways to bring us the goods we need and love.

To this end, we’ve seen notable industry shifts. Designers are delivering smaller, more consciously created collections. We’re being actively encouraged to buy less, choose carefully and better care for our belongings. Ethical production and the durability of materials have become core consumer concerns. And in turn, big fashion houses and small labels alike are ditching fur and other inhumanely-sourced materials in favour of equally lush, faux alternatives.

One textile that’s inspired plenty of clever industry innovation is leather. Leather is a beautiful, durable material that’s always played an important role in the fashion and textiles industries. But since mass production and consumption have become industry norms, a lot of questions linger around its continued use in fashion pieces.

But we’ve seen huge innovations in the space. Recycled polyester imitations, substitutes made from mushrooms and faux-leather made from pineapple leaves all now exist, and are becoming increasingly common leather alternatives used in the fashion industry.

One alternative we haven’t seen until now, however, is apple leather.

Iconic Australian accessories brand Mimco has recently launched its latest range, the Gala Collection. It is a Mimco vegan collection made entirely from PETA-approved materials. While the brand has previously catered to vegan customers with vegan bags and accessories made from nylon, neoprene, PU and straw-weave, the new release poses an opportunity to purchase an eco-friendly version of the brand’s most popular leather products. This is because the collection sees the introduction of apple leather to Mimco’s repertoire.

The textile is a first for both Mimco and its supplier, and is the result of over two years of research and development. It’s made from apple peels that have been discarded by the food industry, which are then repurposed and fused together to create the leather-like material. It has the same beautiful finish and durability of classic leather, making it an ideal alternative for leather products.

It’s especially fitting for a leading brand like Mimco, who for years sought out the best possible leather alternatives to meet its needs as a large-scale company.

Mimco’s Senior Designer of Handbags and Smalls, Carla Hasrouni, says the material was selected for its longevity. The idea is that apple leather will be a long-term, integrated addition to the Mimco brand.

“Our team was driven to introduce an innovative vegan material that Mimco could work with to deliver a full collection over an extended period of time, as opposed to a one-off range,” says Carla.

She explains that, although new leather alternatives are continuously being developed, the fact that the technology itself is so new can sometimes make its availability and longevity unpredictable.

“One of the biggest challenges we encountered was that this particular material was a new article,” Carla explains. “One that neither Mimco nor our supplier had worked with previously.”

The material also takes almost 70 days to produce, which is significantly longer than any other textile used in the brand’s products. Carla emphasises that the time spent developing the range was all worth it, however, as it’s resulted in a product that’s luxurious, sustainable and will always be available. After all, as long as people keep eating apples and tossing the peel, the brand’s suppliers can keep making apple leather.

The Gala Collection is made up of four styles. This includes a vegan update to the brand’s mini tote offering, with a spacious main compartment, external slip pockets and over-the-shoulder straps. There’s also a cross-body style, delivered in a contemporary square silhouette. Both these additions feature a super sweet, and very fitting, apple-shaped tag attached to the zip.

Rounding out the range is a medium zip-up pouch and a wallet with plenty of compartments and card slots. All four styles are available in black or neutral ‘balsa’ apple leather, and feature rose gold hardware with the iconic Mimco branding.

Carla says the new collection has already been incredibly popular with Mimco customers, particularly those who are passionate about eco-friendly fashion and accessories. The range also caught the attention of animal welfare organisation PETA Australia, which has given the brand its official approval.

In a statement on its website, PETA endorsed the brand’s innovation by saying, “We’re thrilled that Mimco will proudly display the ‘PETA-Approved Vegan’ logo on its animal-free items. By using leather made from apple peel to create animal-friendly versions of the stunning pieces it’s famous for, the brand is proving that no one has to suffer for a luxe leather look, and leading the charge when it comes to making kind and sustainable accessories highly desirable.”

Furthering their own sustainable practices, the brand partners with organisations Our Watch, HERproject and the Ethical Fashion Initiative to support and empower women across the world. In addition, Repreve fibres (made from recycled plastic bottles) and Better Cotton Initiative cotton are used heavily across Mimco’s offering, further reducing its impact on the environment.

Carla also hints the Gala Collection will be joined by another non-leather range made from 95 per cent recycled materials later this year.

In the meantime, you can shop the Gala Collection here.

mimco.com.au

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