Sustainable fashion brand Rashki has partnered with Atma Leather to launch what it claims are India’s first banana leather handbags.
India is said to be the world’s largest banana producer, and four tons of waste are generated for every ton of fruit. Atma saw an opportunity to make use of this resource by upcycling it into fibers that can be used to make a petroleum-free leather alternative.
“We have touched the lives of 40,000 consumers”
Following an extensive R&D process, Banofi leather was born, consisting of 60% banana fibers, 20% natural additives, and 20% non-petroleum synthetic additives. The material uses 85% less water and produces 85% less carbon dioxide than animal leather.
Rashki has launched a range of bags made with Banofi, including the Snow black and white crossbody bag, Unica Eco handbag with wooden handles, and Fede tote bag. They are priced between INR 2,000 – INR 10,000 and have initially launched on the brand’s website; later, they will become available across marketplaces such as Myntra, Nykaa Fashion, and Amazon.
Vegan leather in India
In 2018, Indian vegan shoe brand PAIO told vegconomist that there was a huge market for animal-free leather footwear in India, a country with a huge vegetarian population. More recently, several Indian brands have begun using leather alternatives, with fashion and sportswear brand RapidBox launching vegan leather sneakers and fashion house Anita Dongre unveiling bags and belts made with the plastic-free leather alternative Mirum.
“As one of the most loved sustainable lifestyle brands in India, we have touched the lives of 40,000 consumers with our vegan, cruelty-free bags and accessories and we are always hungry to do more,” said Rahul Jain, co-founder at Rashki. “In our endless pursuit for an apt leather alternative, we have found the right partner in Banofi and are stoked to create a new range of cruelty-free, plant-based leather handbags that promise to wow. Add to that the entire thrill of plant-based leather that is Made in India.”