Like Leather – alternatives to leather

Bags of plant fibers, a fish leather stool and leathery accessories of cow stomachs. Designers devise all sorts of sustainable alternatives for leather. And develop ways and methods to give leather a longer life or to recycle and reuse leather. From 12 to 14 March, surprising examples can be seen at the exhibition Like Leather in Rotterdam Ahoy as part of MaterialDistrict Rotterdam. On 14 March, the new Conscious Leather Foundation will be launched.

The exhibition Like Leather is a cooperation between Yksi Connect, MaterialDistrict Rotterdam and Conscious Leather Foundation.


Leather is a beautiful material, but its production has a downside. Tanning has become less polluting over time, but many chemicals are still being used and the process still uses a lot of water. And how are the animals kept and treated?

Circular economy

The Like Leather exhibition shows a number of products, concepts and production methods of designers looking for sustainable forms of leather and possible alternatives. In this way they want to contribute to a circular economy. Some of them start with another source such as the skin of fish or the intestines and bladders of sheep, pigs and cows – materials that usually end up with the waste. There are also designers who use plant materials such as the bark of pine trees or the fibers of banana trees. Still other designers try to extend the life span of leather or to recycle leather goods and to process them into new products.

MaterialDistrict expo

MaterialDistrict selected the best leather alternatives of its own independent collection.

Launch Conscious Leather Foundation

During MaterialsDistrict Rotterdam on 14 March from 11.00-13.00 h an interactive presentation on this theme takes place. Participating designers from the exhibition Like Leather Shahar Livne and Agnieska Mazur, experts and representatives from the industry like Nicoline van Enter (creative director Footwearists) enter into a dialogue with the visitors. Moderated by Leonne Cuppen (Yksi Connect, designer and intermediary) and Simon Angel (sustainable business innovator). Following this event, at 13.15 h the new Conscious Leather Foundation will be launched. This platform promotes sustainable production of leather and collects and shares knowledge about alternatives to leather and leather production. The new foundation also brings designers and industry together in cooperation projects.

Check the full lecture programme here.


Create Value
Buxkin – Upholstery for walls, floors and panels
Julie van den Boorn – Compoleather
Agnieska Mazur – Medina
Hung Sheng Lee – The Beauty of Sickness

Slaughter waste
Mies Loogman – Wild Leather
Studio Nienke Hoogvliet – Re-Sea-Me
NYVIDD – Fish Leather
Shahar Livne – The Meat Factory
Billie van Katwijk – Ventri

Plant Power
Sarmite Polakova – PINEskins
Atelier La Gadoue – Tchouc
reWrap – Tree Bag
Coffee Based – Notebook
Qwstion Bags – Banana Tex
Clara Roussel- A Journey Into Poplar Bark
Danielle Ooms – Apple based material