This week, fashion brand Fossil—known best for its watches—launched its first collection of handbags made with cactus leather. The brand’s new Kier Cactus Leather Totes are made with award-winning material Desserto, a vegan leather developed by Mexican entrepreneurs Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez from nopal (prickly pear cactus) leaves. The new totes ($298 each) come in moss, wine, black, and brown colorways and feature a removable zipper pouch for holding smaller items, brass hardware, and are lined with recycled polyester. 

Fossil is actively working to source and implement “pro-planet” materials as part of its Make Time for Good sustainability commitment. The brand developed the Kier Cactus Leather Totes collection—which launched during Earth Month— over the course of two years with sustainability in mind. While traditional leather production involves environmentally damaging practices, Desserto’s vegan leather is made with organically grown nopal leaves that are irrigated by rainwater and dried in the sun. As such, the Kier Cactus Leather totes save 7.5 liters of water in the production process. 

“When learning about Desserto’s cactus leather, we were not only excited by the versatility, durability, and luxurious feel of the material itself, but also the incredible process by which it’s made—free of irrigation, herbicides, and pesticides and dried in the sun,” a Fossil spokesperson told VegNews. “We were so inspired by their incredibly energy-efficient process as well as the passion behind Desserto’s mission of creating sustainable solutions.” 

Fossil aims to release future items made with Desserto, including a men’s line coming this fall. 

Cactus leather is the new black 

After quitting their jobs to focus on developing Desserto, López Velarde and Cázarez unveiled the innovative vegan material in 2019 at the International Leather Fair Lineapelle in Milan, Italy after two years of research and development. In addition to Fossil, a growing number of brands are now using Desserto vegan cactus leather to create new, eco-friendly collections that do not rely on animal hides. Last year, athletic brand Sanabul debuted “Los Cactus,” the world’s first boxing gloves made with Desserto’s vegan cactus leather. Last month, major retailer H&M launched the Science Story collection in the United States and Canada, which features a variety of clothing items and accessories made with Desserto and EVO by Fulgar, a bio-based yarn derived from renewable castor oil. 

Luxury designers are also getting on board with vegan cactus leather. Last week, iconic brand Karl Lagerfeld launched its first collaborative collection with supermodel (and friend of the late designer behind the brand) Amber Valletta who used Desserto to create a vegan version of the iconic K/Kushion bag which comes in a dark green or black hue (colored with organic pigments) in a pleated or seamless design.