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Viridis is one of the emerging mainstream vegan leathers on the market. We receive many enquiries at our Manchester factory about how to use vegan leather in accessory production. Let’s answer some questions!

For clarity, the industry markets vegan leather under many names, including but not limited to: artificial leather, synthetic leather, faux leather, PU leather, leatherette and vegan leather.

What is Viridis?

Viridis is one brand of many synthetic, or vegan, leathers on the market.

Produced by Panama Trimmings, they describe it as: “the only PU [polyurethane] made with renewable resources, Viridis contains 43% of polyols coming from CORN (GMO free) grown for industrial end-use, processed into ethanol and its by-products”.

Paraphrased, it is an animal-free PU synthetic material made using corn oil to emulate leather. 

How environmentally friendly is Viridis?

Panama Trimmings calls it “the most green product among the synthetic fabrics” – but exactly how green is that? Labelling a product vegan simply means that no animals went into the production. The term does not encompass ‘environmentally friendly’. It is unclear from Panama Trimming’s FAQ page the exact manufacturing process, but we can examine the individual components.

Polyurethanes come from oil, one of earth’s finite resources. However, the official site for Polyurethanes states that “the product qualities of polyurethanes are such that they help to conserve many resources” and that the industry is “constantly striving to improve the end-of-life phase… to achieve even greater sustainability”. It’s not perfect but perhaps amongst the best options when considering our impact.

Furthermore, even though corn comprises a large percentage of Viridis, this unfortunately doesn’t mean that it is recyclable or biodegradable. The corn by-produce also comes from North America to Italy where it is manufactured, adding miles to the material. 

However, using corn means the material is sourced sustainably. Relatively, Viridis’ footprint is much lower than real leather (see graph below). Although it contains solvents, Panama Trimmings state that those they use comply with REACH regulations and are therefore not harmful – to either humans or the environment. 

Read more here.

How does Viridis work functionally?

We think Viridis is a fantastic alternative to real leather, not least because it has a great look and texture. There are a number of finishes and embosses available e.g. shiny with a grained emboss for a classic leather look, or a smooth matt for a sporty vibe.

These neutral colours show a faux-leather texture – if emulating the real thing without the impact is your goal. The surface is clean and consistent resulting in low wastage / rejection.

We found that Viridis split and skived perfectly and still maintained its strength and appearance. It also stitches very cleanly.

The standard colour pallette available from stock is fairly limited. If you want a bolder product, a variety of bright colours are possible by block printing on top (ask MPLG for more information).

How can it be sourced?

You can find contact details for Viridis / Panama Trimmings in the list of suppliers within in the materials section on our website.

Conclusion

Viridis, although not the perfect eco-friendly material, is a great, lower-impact alternative to real leather and is fantastic to work with. Having manufactured bags and card wallets from this material, we are happy to vouch for it’s reliability.

For more information about us, please visit our website. Alternatively, give us a call and we’d be happy to answer any of your questions!


MPLG Ltd is a private label manufacturer of premium quality bags, backpacks and wallets, in leather, synthetics or textiles, for international brands. Established in 1976; we have capabilities and expertise in every area of sampling and production. We make all items in our own factory in Manchester, England.

All content and opinions stated here are to the best of our knowledge, true and correct but we cannot be held liable for any unintentional errors or omissions. We recommend that you make your own detailed enquiries before making any decision based on the above information.

© MPLG Ltd 2021