Bentley Motors is renowned for upholstering its cars in 20 premium hides, but that soon may change. The luxury automaker just announced plans to offer a vegan option in which leather will be replaced with fabric made from mushrooms and jellyfish.
“You can’t sell an animal-containing product like a Bentley, with 20 leather hides, to someone with a vegan lifestyle,” said Stefan Sielaff, the company’s director of design.
“We’ve been talking to these customers, in California especially, and they’re asking us what we can give them. We do a lot of custom-made and coach-built solutions, in conjunction with our colleagues at Mulliner, and therefore we want to satisfy these customers because they are the peak of a trend.”
Sielaff, who was speaking at “Future of the Car Summit” in London, said that Bentley plans to use a range of alternative materials to replace leather.
“We will shortly present a Bentley with a vegan interior; it’ll give you a luxury sensation but with a different way – protein leather, mushroom leather, jellyfish material,” he said.
Protein leather, or pleather, has been around for years. But the other two fabrics are still nascent products that are not in widespread use.
Muskin, or mushroom-skin leather, is a biodegradable vegetal fabric made from mushroom caps and dyed without the use of chemicals. It resembles suede and is said to be naturally anti-bacterial.
Jellyfish leather is a translucent fabric made from the jellyfish. Like mushroom-skin leather, it too is biodegradable and can be dyed without the use of chemicals.
The jellyfish is one of the few animals that many vegans are okay with killing or eating. This is because the the creature is believed to be somewhat sentient, or unaware and lacking feelings. Culling the overgrown jellyfish population also reduces its toxic impact on the environment.
Bentley‘s decision to offer a vegan option isn’t all that surprising, as other luxury automakers have done the same. But I have to admit that the idea of a Bentley trimmed in anything but leather sounds awfully sacrilegious.