Originally Posted by truepeacenik
Again, where's the uni research grant for this?? eh?? are there softer, flexible plant source plastics?
Organic, bioplastic faux leather doesn't need to be an university research project in order for it to exist! You could probably make it at home.
Then again, there are supposedly other organic sources of faux leather, but I'm not sure whether they're good enough to substitute for real leather:
Vegetal Leather(Treetap): It's usually made by drenching cotton in natural latex(usually Hevea) and then vulcanizing it with smoke from palm nuts. You could replace cotton with bamboo or another natural fabric, if you're allergic to cotton. I haven't thought of any good substitutes for the Hevea tree's latex, if you're allergic to it, but those examples might do for now: Guayule, dandelions, goldenrods, rajmahal hemp, cow-tree/palo-de-vaca(produces a latex than can be consumed like milk), and fig trees.
Paper Mulberry, Goat Willow, and Caragana Decorticans: I've heard their barks are so tough, a substitute for leather can be made from them. I've heard about this from http://www.pfaf.org/database/search_use.php?K=Leather
Kombucha: It's a drink consisting of sugar and tea fermented by a mass of bacteria and yeats. I think when it's dried, it could substitute for leather. However, I would avoid kombucha, mainly because of its alcoholic(ethanol) content.
Fomes Fomentarius: The sterile part of this mushroom can be used as a suede-like cloth if treated properly and hammered. You could try to tan the cloth with plant extracts as you would rawhide and see if it resembles real leather(the fetishized kind) in appearance and texture.
Fruit Leather: A snack food made of flavored pureed fruit that is dried and rolled, so it's more of a candy substitute than it's for leather. Maybe if you somehow turned the fruit leather into a suitable substitute for animal leather, then you can make fashionable clothes and accessories out of it.