We've put together this breakdown of the cruelty free fabrics we use at White Rhino. You can also use the following symbols which are displayed when you visit any item on our shop page. They are there to help guide you and provide quick additional information about any individual item.
We prioritize quality, durability and sustainability when sourcing fabrics. All while keeping the end-user in mind to provide a product that adds value to your day-to-day, is functional and can be purchased at an accessible price-point for the everyday person.
No materials sold here are reliant on animal derived products - we adore animals and would never sacrifice a life in the name of fashion.
Cork leather is a plant-based, animal-free leather alternative produced from the Cork Oak tree. It is a very soft, extremely durable, eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to animal-derived leathers. It comes in a variety of colors and textures some of which maintain the unique cork-like look and others which are pressed or printed to mimic animal skin textures such as snake or cow-hide. It ticks all the boxes in terms of the qualities and values that we hold dear as a brand and are looking forward to creating all sorts of wonderful things with this versatile textile. Learn even more about cork leather here.
100% Post consumer recycled PET (abbreviated as rPET) is a material made exclusively from used plastic bottles recovered from our landfills and oceans. The plastic is shredded, spun into thread fibers and woven into a multi-use fabric.
White Rhino is proud to utilize this material as the lining fabric in all production as of 2020. We have found creative ways to incorporate this material into the lining, webbing and even the outer portions of some designs. The lifecycle of this material is very exciting as it can be used and re-used again and again. Removing waste materials from our environment and turning them into something beautiful and useful brings us so much joy.
We LOVE cactus leather and are very excited to debut it in our new Micro-Collections for 2021. The creation of cactus leather is a sustainable process because the cactus plant does not have to be harvested and replanted later throughout the creation of the leather. Mature cactus leaves are removed from the plant, leaving the core of the leaf intact, which means the cactus can regrow to be used in later production. Cacti also require little water in order to grow, making them a great option to limit water usage in fashion production.
As the name suggests, organic cotton is any cotton produced using certified organic agricultural practices. These practices ensure that soil health is retained and that harmful waste and chemicals are not used in production. Another principle of the practice is lowering water usage, with 80% of organic cotton crop being rain-fed. Conventional cotton farms may mistreat their workers by exposing them to toxic chemicals and generate a large cotton footprint - by buying products that use organic cotton, you are ensuring that the fabric you’re wearing is produced ethically and sustainably. Organic cotton aligns with White Rhino’s mission to seek out materials that are kind to the environment.
Hemp is a tall, fibrous plant that is known for its durability and low water usage. This plant-derived material is increasing in popularity due to it's many benefits to the environment and ease of application. Hemp absorbs carbon and favors soil health, making it a superior fabric in saving the environment. The fabric also naturally blocks UV rays and prevents bacterial growth, ideal for everyday wear.
Our vegan leather items are made from man-made vinyl and PU fabrics that have the look and feel of animal-hide leather without the loss of life. These man-made fabrics are incredibly durable, easy to clean, water-resistant and have a texture which convincingly imitates animal-derived leathers.
We ethically source these fabrics from manufacturers who adhere to ISO manufacturing standards and in order to be as sustainable as possible with these man-made materials we utilize fabrics that are already in existence. Rather than using up more resources to produce new fabric we take the homeless overstock from larger manufacturers and turn it into something usable that will add value to your everyday.
To learn more about vegan leathers and why we don’t support the use of animal-derived leathers check out our dedicated blog post here.
When it comes to manufacturing, the realities of waste that happens in the production phase of creating any good is all too real. Specifically in the cutting step of manufacturing, the scraps of leftover fabrics can add up quickly. To combat that we up-cycle these fabric bits and by-products of manufacturing as often as possible, using the waste materials of production to create smaller designs, samples and custom pieces.
During the conception and design process we take usage into consideration to minimize fabric wastage (and in doing so save on fabric costs which saves you in the end) We are always looking at ways that we can minimize our footprint at the production level.
Looking Forward and Beyond
It is such an amazing time to be alive as the world is shifting more and more towards sustainable, animal free, and ethical options not just in the fashion industry but for human-kind as a whole!
There have been many new and developing textile options that we can’t wait to incorporate into future designs as soon as they become readily available. For example there’s Piñatex - an eco-friendly vegan leather produced from pineapple leaves and husk. There are also mushroom-based leathers starting to appear on the market, seaweed-derived plastic alternatives, eco-friendly and animal-free silk alternatives all springing up in the textiles market that we are just itching to incorporate into future designs.
We are constantly researching, inquiring and acquiring swatches for these amazing materials to test and sample. It is extremely important for us to be an accessible brand and to make vegan fabrics the norm by being able to offer competitively-priced alternatives. Many of these newer and developing textiles are only offered in large wholesale quantities that are outside our reach, or at a price point that small-sized competitive design houses like ours can’t implement quite yet.
But trust me - we are watching and planning for the future. Every purchase you make from White Rhino supports our ability to grow and builds our brand power - and as we grow we will be able to do more and offer the most progressive vegan, eco and sustainable goods for every being.
That is our mission!