Luca Nichetto designs the Malala bag in apple skin for Angela Roi

Luca Nichetto designs the Malala bag in apple skin for Angela Roi

Designer Luca Nichetto has made his first foray into fashion accessories with the Malala bag, which was produced partially from apples for vegan leather goods brand Angela Roi.

Malala is Angela Roi’s first accessory made from apple leather, a fabric that is created using scraps like peels and cores from apple processing that would otherwise go to waste.

However, while Angela Roi’s website describes apple leather as an “all-vegetable alternative to real leather,” the brand clarified to Dezeen that the material is a mix of apple-derived fibers and polyurethane plastic material. commonly used petroleum derivative. used for vegan leather goods.

Photo of the Malala bag by Luca Nichetto and Angela Roi showing four integrated pockets at the top
The Malala bag is made from an apple-based leather alternative.

This blend of apple and polyurethane is then applied to a blended cotton/polyester backing material.

According to Nichetto Studio, the fabric retains both the feel and look of leather and will similarly change over time, developing a softer texture and natural sheen.

“I think that considering the economic situation, the environmental challenges and this crisis in the world, design must try to find answers in the creation of objects that are durable and sustainable,” said Nichetto.

Photo of the Malala bag by Luca Nichetto and Angela Roi arranged in a still life
The bag is intended to offer a more sustainable alternative for high-end consumers.

Named after Pakistani education activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the bag features a distinctive design with four functional pockets integrated into the top opening.

Its design was based on the idea of ​​a cabinet of curiosities or a traveler’s trunk with many compartments. At the same time, its shape references fast food potato chip packaging, giving the bag what Nichetto Studio describes as a “pop soul.”

The Malala bag is cruelty free, with no animals involved in production. The apple leather used for this comes from the Italian company Pelletteria Fusella, which uses apple scraps from an orchard in the South Tyrol region.

The orchard’s apples are used for products such as juices and jams and produces some 30,000 tons of waste, such as cores and peels, each year that are sent to landfill or burned.

Photo of a black tote bag on its side with items spilling out of the pockets
The bag features four functional pockets built into the top.

According to Angela Roi, by using a combination of plant-based and petroleum-based materials, the brand is able to reduce carbon emissions from producing polyurethane bags while still offering the durability that high-end consumers expect. .

“As it currently stands, petroleum-based materials play a critical role in the durability of bio-based leathers because extending a product’s life cycle is an incredibly important aspect of sustainability,” said Angela Lee, founder of the brand.

“The impact potential of the material depends on the brand and consumer adoption, and most consumers will not accept huge sacrifices in quality compared to leather. We have yet to see a completely plastic-free product that meets the brand and consumer requirements for softness, strength and flexibility”.

Photo of the beige Malala tote arranged in a still life
The shape of the bag is based in part on potato chip containers.

Lee says Angela Roi’s goal is to constantly look for better material options and eventually use one that is 100% plastic-free and biodegradable as technology improves.

“Recently there has been the development of polyester yarns that are impregnated with enzymes that are activated to break down the polyester once placed in biodegradable conditions,” Lee said.

“There has also been development of chemically engineered natural fibers that act like petroleum-based yarns. Both options are exciting and could be used as backing material in the future.”

While many plant-based leather alternatives are now hitting the market, many still contain a plastic component, particularly as a coating, to ensure the kind of durability expected of consumer goods.

A similar apple leather comes from Dutch company Beyond Leather, whose Leap fabric is made by mixing scraps with natural rubber and using a textile backing and a thin plastic protective layer.

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