Kaila Katherine is a luxury vegan brand that works exclusively with the latest innovations in sustainable textiles. Each Kaila Katherine bag is handmade in New York City by experts who are paid a living wage. While other vegan leather products on the market are PVC and PU based, our pieces are made with toxic chemical free plant-based leather alternatives.
Our first collection of bags utilizes one of the most recent breakthroughs in textile technology: cactus fiber. This cactus-based material is sourced from a Mexico based, farmer-owner startup whose team has developed a sustainable process using a cactus native to the area, the Nopal cactus, with zero herbicides or pesticides. Cactus is a natural carbon sink, and the farm is able to absorb 8,100 tons of C02/year across 14 acres. No trees are cut down to harvest the cactus, and because the plant is native to the area, it blends with the wild flora and matches the natural local biodiversity. Only mature leaves of the cactus are cut, and this process causes no damage to the rest of the plant, to support a new harvest with the same plant every 6-8 months. After the leaves are cut, they are laid to dry under the sun for three days using no additional energy. Once they reach a certain level of humidity, the raw materials are mixed into a unique formula with no toxic chemicals to create beautiful colors and finishes.
At Kaila Katherine we believe that leather is an unnecessary evil with the advanced technology of today. Cattle ranching is not only cruel, but also the largest driver of Amazon deforestation. 70% of the Amazon Rainforest has already been destroyed and is now occupied by pastures and crops specifically for animal feed. In addition to the detrimental impact of cattle farming itself on the planet, the process of leather tanning relies on a toxic slush of Chromium salts and tanning liquor. Tanning one ton of hide typically results in 20 to 80 cubic meters of wastewater with Chromium concentrations around 250 mg/L and Sulphide concentrations at roughly 500 mg/L, in addition to the pesticides used to prevent mold in the preparation and transportation of the raw hide. 70% of an untreated hide is eventually discarded as a solid waste.
In addition to being the most sustainable choice today, the plant-based nontoxic textiles we use to create our pieces leave no room to miss beauty or durability. We believe our bags offer a more beautiful, more sustainable, and more compassionate option versus leather bags or PVC based alternatives.
A portion of our proceeds will be donated to Ladies of Hope Ministries, a grassroots organization in New York that provides housing and support to formerly incarcerated women to re-enter life after prison.