Vegan Mate Cups and More Latin American Items

Vegan Mate Cups and More Latin American Items

Published through Rebecca Maness.

In Latin American countries, some traditional items are often made from animal-derived materials, but it’s easier to find them made from sustainable, ethical alternatives such as organic cotton, hemp, and vegan leathers. More and more people are realizing the horrors of leather, wool, fur, and other industries that exploit animals and are looking for vegan options instead. Here are just a few of the ways people in Latin American countries make clothes, accessories, and other items without harming animals:


Gauchos are Argentine cowboys whose distinctive clothing consists of belts, belts, and boots made of cowhide along with ponchos and berets made of wool. In Argentina and Uruguay especially, mainstream fashions have been inspired by these iconic figures, and many people like to replicate the look with animal-free materials. Vegan leather boots and accessories are now widely available, including ponchos and berets made from non-animal fibers such as cashmilon.

In Buenos Aires, some shops still sell coats and other items made of fox fur. Used by wolves for their fur are often raised and confined in overcrowded, filthy prisons, where they endure lives filled with pain and fear. Wearing someone else’s fur will never be fashionable, so many Argentines choose it fake fur instead.

Cowhide rugs can also be found in some stores, but seekers choose to emulate the style with compassion. faux cowhide rug rather because they are easier to find, more affordable, and—most importantly—no made of leather.

In addition to clothing, other traditional items in Argentina now use animal-derived materials. Yerba mate is a staple drink there and in Uruguay, and it can be served in a cup made from a leather-wrapped calabash gourd, cow horn, or even cow hoof. Instead of these, most Argentines now use sturdy insulated thermoses with built-in cups to keep their mate warm throughout the day. Pair it with a leather-free tote bag (like this one from Argensend) for an easy way to land your husband.


Leather belts with cow-horn buckles used to be traditional accessories in Chile. Cow hides and horns are coproducts of the beef industry, and buying them supports it as much as buying beef. Dehorning—an extremely painful and traumatic process for cows—is also common in the dairy industry.

Instead of supporting these brutal industries, more Chileans and other Latin Americans are choosing belts, shoes, and other accessories that do not harm the gentle cow. Brands like Black Nopal makes things with nopal cactus leather and metal buckles.


Cotizas llaneras de cuero are espadrille-style shoes made of cowhide that sometimes have hair attached. Instead of choosing harshly made leather espadrilles, many are opting for those made from natural plant fibers. Indigenous communities in Colombia use ancestral weaving techniques to make shoes made of sisal and jute.

Another common thing in Colombia is the Ruana, a type of warm wool blanket or poncho popular in the Andean region. Naa wool industry, workers cut off parts of the sheep’s tails, caste men without painkillers, and slit the throats of the sheep while they were still conscious. Now Colombians are turning to more humane options to stay warm, including ruanas made with animal materials.

Colombian based Fiquetex is a “PETA-Approved Vegan” brand that makes innovative materials from fique plant, which grows abundantly in the region. We are excited to see the ways Fiquetex can be used to enhance traditional Colombian items.


Much Mexican clothing, from leather huarache shoes to belts, is often made from the hides of cows, ostriches, and other animals. These animals suffer greatly in the leather industry, which treats them as objects instead of the individuals they are and a major contribution to environmental degradation because it requires enormous amounts of feed, pasture, water, and fossil fuels to raise, transport, and kill animals. People who live and work in or near leather tanneries also suffer when they are exposed to toxic pollutants used to prevent hides from rotting.

Fortunately, the vegan leather industry is booming in Latin America, and one Mexican company in particular is leading the way: Adriano Di Marti, a company created by Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez, has been formed. Dessertan award-winning “PETA-Approved Vegan” material made from cactus, and is already used by major brands.


Peru is the largest producer of alpaca wool in the world, and according to the Peruvian Institute for Statistics, there are approximately 3.6 million alpacas in the country, in over 46 provinces, mainly concentrated in the regions of Arequipa, Cusco, and Puno.

An undercover investigation by PETA revealed that workers at a large Peruvian alpaca farm had beaten, kicked, tied, and mutilated pregnant, crying alpaca while stealing their wool. Terrified alpacas endure this traumatic shearing process many times until their wool production slows down and they are slaughtered for food. Instead of supporting the cruel alpaca-wool industry, many Peruvians are buying Chullo hats made from non-animal materials.

The “PETA-Approved Vegan” Peruvian brand Insecta makes bags and accessories using Piñatex, a vegan leather made from pineapple-leaf fibers. It works too Pinayarna woolless yarn that uses the same fibers, and we hope to see more Peruvian chullo hats made from it in the near future.

Choose Vegan Fabrics Instead of Those Made by Harmful Animals

Countless companies create materials from plants without harming animals or the environment. They use pineapple, apple, mushroom, fique plant, cactus, and recycled cotton to make vegan leather—the options are endless, and new, innovative materials are being invented all the time.

If you’re wondering how you can help animals used for their skin, start by never buying anything made of leather, wool, fur, or any other material derived from animals. You can also help by asking companies to change for the better:

Tell Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Prada to Stop Using Exotic Leather!