OKOBOR™ by Nanushka

OKOBOR™ is an exclusive fabric developed by Nanushka, free from the use of animal skin and derivatives.

What is OKOBOR™?

This fabric is made with a 56% recycled polyester and 44% polyurethane. Recycled polyester is a more environmentally friendly choice than virgin polyester as it reduces both the demand put upon natural resources and the impact generated by the extraction of non-renewable fossil fuels. Through preventing waste from ending up in landfills, recycled materials also contribute to a circular economy.

Polyester is a synthetic fiber that comes from fossil fuels, a non-renewable resource that is extracted from the earth. The production of these fibers is a high-impact process, requiring a large amount of chemicals and energy, as well as generating high greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If any waste water is not treated properly, hazardous chemicals can be released into the environment. Switching to recycled polyester reduces the need for virgin resource extraction; reducing water, chemicals and energy consumption; as well as GHG emissions.

How Sustainable is
Recycled Polyester?

Most recycled polyester comes from recycled plastic bottles, which are mechanically recycled into chips, melted and extruded to create a yarn that is then knitted or woven into textiles. Even though recycled polyester from plastic waste lessens GHG emissions and reduces natural resources consumption, it has its limitations; in fact it can’t be recycled mechanically a second time as the quality of the fibers gets weaker. On the other hand, currently chemical recycling of fabrics also presents some limitations - but we do support the transition to textile-to-textile recycling whenever possible, in an effort to reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfill and preserve the quality of the fiber.

The other growing concern of polyester/recycled polyester fabrics is microfibers shedding, which is the release of fibrous microplastics in marine habitats. To support the reduction of microplastic shedding, we encourage the following actions:

  1. Wash Less.
  2. Use a colder washing cycle.
  3. Use a washing bag to capture microfibers from ending up inwater streams, and also to preserve the quality of your clothes.
  4. Install a microfiber filter in your washing machine.

Circularity at Nanushka

“We believe in the vision of a circular economy and we recognise our responsibility as a brand to proactively take steps towards building a circular fashion system where products and materials are utilized to their fullest. Through an increased level of transparency, we’re constantly looking to shape a better future of consumption and production.”

Sandra Sandor, Founder and Creative Director, Nanushka

Manufacturing process

“The creation of OKOBOR™ was a 2-year journey from start to finish. We used vegan leather, which is generated from synthetic fibers and has featured throughout previous collections, as a starting point for development. Our aim was to recreate a new leather alternative, produced more responsibly with a higher quality surface and luxurious feel; this presented the biggest challenge.

Working closely with one of our key supply chain partners, producing a backing was the first step in creating a more sustainable quality of alt-leather. Using GRS-certified recycled polyester coming from PET plastic bottles from post-consumer waste, the OKOBOR™ backing was created to produce a compact suede-looking effect. For the PU coating, our team opted for a post-production process that used waste originally intended for a landfill, by repurposing and blending it with virgin polymer.

“Our vegan leather predecessor was produced through wet processing — a method that uses a lot of water to remove residue after manufacture. We moved away from this final step by producing OKOBOR™ through dry processing, which required 80% less water in comparison to wet processing methods. Once the PU coating is applied, it is sprayed with a fine mist to remove residue and reduce water consumption.

Extensive quality testing has been done on OKOBOR™ at major testing facilities to ensure an A1 rating”.

“The inspiration behind naming the fabrication came from Nanushka’s heritage and innovation values. ‘Ökobör’ perfectly encompasses these, meaning ‘Eco Leather’ in Hungarian.”

Mario Arena, Director of Research and Development

Since its inception in 2006, Nanushka aims to create beautifully crafted products with an authentic and consistent consideration for responsible production. We want to be known as a brand that values people, the land and our ecosystems. We began our journey with the use of alt-leather in 2015, as a commitment to animal welfare, following up with the introduction of Regenerated Leather into our collections from 2021.

With the rise in awareness around resource scarcity and climate change, education surrounding our industry’s environmental impact has continued to evolve, and we at Nanushka recognise the need for further innovation. This understanding has resulted in dedicated research and development; OKOBOR™ is our first step towards reducing our overall footprint.

We are proud to announce that all RTW alt-leather products will be made from OKOBOR™ from our Pre-Fall 2022 collection onwards.

OKOBOR™ composition breakdown:

  • Coating: Polyurethane.
  • Backing: 100% recycled polyester post-consumer.