Phool is a Kanpur-based Indian biomaterials firm that has created a vegan leather replacement to animal skin using discarded temple flowers.
According to the upcycling company, the animal-free material, named Fleather, is a versatile textile that contains chitin, a protein that gives it the same delicate and smooth sensation as skin leather.
Ankit Agarwal and Prateek Kumar created Phool in 2017 to provide a sustainable solution to the poisonous flower waste dumped in the Ganges river.
The company has been converting flower waste into charcoal-free incense and oily scents since its inception.
The organization recycles tons of floral waste each year, providing vital work possibilities for families and female “flowercyclers” from the surrounding area.
After discovering that bacteria might turn flowers into a substance comparable to leather in 2020, the business launched an R&D phase that culminated in the development of Fleather in 2021.
To date, Phool has created and successfully manufactured a variety of fashion prototypes, ranging from wallets to shoes, using its cruelty-free alternative, which the business claims will disrupt the worldwide leather industry.
Fleather is part of a growing trend of cruelty-free and sustainable materials aimed at addressing the world’s most critical environmental issues, including as pollution and biodiversity loss.
Companies who care about the environment employ leathers manufactured from repurposed tamarind pods, mushrooms, and algae to make goods ranging from shoes to watches to purses and accessories.
According to Phool, the company is backed by the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, as well as investors such as Bollywood star Alia Bhatt, Sixth Sense Ventures, and the IAN Fund, who all participated in a recent $8 million Series A financing round.
Phool indicated that the funds will be used to expand its operations both in India and globally, to establish India’s largest fragrance brand, and to invest in R&D to introduce vegan leather to global markets.