Desserto: Mexican innovators create cactus leather as a sustainable alternative to leather

Mexico is home to the nopal cactus and now two innovators from the country have created a unique and sustainable material made of cactus, as an  alternative to leather.

Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez’s brand Desserto have created the first cactus-based leather on the market, made from nopal cactus leaves. The cactus leather is organic, partially biodegradable, soft, durable, and can be used to make clothing, accessories, furniture, and even car interiors.

The innovators were inspired to create Desserto after learning about the plastic pollution crisis, and were intrigued by the nopal cactus, which grows in abundance throughout Mexico and does not require any water to grow. They spent the last two years doing research and development, and finally figured out how to turn nopal cactus leaves into the perfect cactus-based leather.

The pair debuted Desserto at the International Leather Fair Lineapelle 2019 in Milan last month. Although Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez are not planning to make their own products using cactus leather, they are, however, keen to sell their fabric to designers and fashion brands.

In an interview with Fashion United, Adrián López Velarde said: “It’s the right time to offer this alternative, because not only are consumer industries interested in new materials like these, but also more and more end-consumers are demanding environmentally friendly materials.”


Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at

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