Le Qara, “leather” in Quechua, an indigenous Andean language, was founded in 2017 by sisters Jacqueline and Isemar Cruz. They won the H&M Foundation’s 2019 Global Change Award for their bioleather. In May 2020, the company was a finalist in the launch category of the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. Le Qara has filed for patents for its bioleather process and expects to achieve industrial scale production in mid 2022.
Le Qara is a leather-like biotextile made via microbial cultivation.
Production process: Microbial Cultivation
Although the company does not reveal specifics about the technology used to make Le Qara, it is made by a biotechnological process where microorganisms are fed with organic residues and produce a biopolymer. Local waste is used as the growth medium and the process takes less than a month. According to the company, Le Qara bioleather can be engineered to have various textures, thicknesses, and levels of flexibility. The company describes their material as high quality, high resistance, and breathable.
According to the company, Le Qara is biodegradable and its production uses far less land and water than bovine leather. In addition, post-production waste can be used as liquid compost.
The prototype Le Qara handbag is said to look and feel like leather. Its durability is unknown at this time. MII will update this profile after more information becomes available.
Prototype Le Qara handbag
Images from Le Qara.