Stella McCartney has launched its Falabella and Frayme bags in leather alternative Mirum, making them the world’s first luxury handbags made from this new vegan, plastic-free material that comes from Natural Fiber Welding (NFW).
It’s made from plant-based, all-natural ingredients, and is the first of its kind to be both 100% recyclable and circular, we’re told, with McCartney saying its “able to be safely returned to Mother Earth as nutrients at the end of its life”.
Mirum is a customisable material made in a three-stage process using bioneutral, certified bio-based ingredients such as natural rubber, natural fibres, plant-based oil and pigments like biochar and rust – “containing no plastics and requiring no tanning or additional water inputs to avoid creating wastewater”.
It has a “significantly lower carbon footprint compared to conventional animal and synthetic options”, creating 0.8-2.1 CO2e per square metre (based on a Life Cycle Assessment study commissioned by NFW). Petroleum-based leather alternatives produce 7-15.8 kg CO2e.
What’s produced is claimed to be “supple and durable, easily cleaned and fully water-resistant”.
The designer said the preview of the bags at her winter 2023 show is “both a celebration of the love between humans and animals, as well as a call-to-action to take a stand for our planet. I have long dreamed of the day when we would see a plant-based alternative to leather that does not kill a single creature and can be easily given back to Mother Earth, without creating waste. There is no compromise on desirability or durability; the future of fashion has arrived.”
The company cited UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) figures saying 1.4 billion animal hides and skins were used in global leather production in 2020 – with tanning processes using and producing toxic chemicals and gases, such as chromium IV.
“In addition to poisoning water systems and threatening the health of workers, the industry is harming the planet through land destruction,” it said. “The farming of cattle for beef and leather products is responsible for 80% of the Amazon’s deforestation [source: WWF], removing vital carbon sinks and reducing biodiversity”.