M_MAT, our alternatives to leather

We are committed to offer a new approach to ‘Haute Maroquinerie’, as qualitative and durable, but much more sustainable.

Our priority goes to innovative biobased materials of the highest quality. All our materials must answer strict specifications: to offer an exceptional sensory experience, to prove as strong and resistant as leather and to have the lowest possible impact on our planet.  

The materials that meet our criteria and can be used for our products all share the name “M_MAT”.


The "M_MAT_cactus", the first material we selected in 2021, is a low-impact biobased alternative to leather made from Mexican Nopal cactus.

Selecting a material coming all the way from Mexico might be surprising, because of the distance that separates our workshops in France from its production place, but in fact its environmental impact is so much lower than that of leather that it is still a very legitimate choice.


The M_MAT_mycelium is our latest innovation, released in October 2023 after 18 months of development with our European partner MycaNova.

Combining a recycled textile fabric, bio-based binders and upcycled mycelium, this biomaterial has the lowest carbon footprint of our alternatives to leather.

Maison Maes, haute maroquinerie vegan à faible impact, fabriquée en France à part de cuir végétal issu du cactus Nopal

Significantly-lower impact

Our M_MAT_cactus is made from Nopal cactus by Mexican company Adriano di Marti. Fully integrated into the local flora, this cactus is grown according to organic farming methods and without resorting to irrigation. Nopal is also an exceptional CO2 trap, which allows Adriano di Marti's crops to have a clearly-positive carbon footprint.

Whether it be energy consumption, water consumption or greenhouse gases emission, Desserto shows significantly-lower needs and as a result a much better impact on our environment compared to leather. And there is no longer any question of cruelty to animals. Access Adriano di Marti’s environmental performance data here.

The M_MAT_mycelium is made in Italy by MycaNova, with mycelium supplied by Belgian company Citribel, a world-class leader in the production of citric acid. This mycelium is a byproduct of Citribel's activity which relies on another byproduct, sugar molasses, sourced from sugar refineries which are found in great number in the north of France and in Belgium. This double upcycling of byproducts, combined to Citribel's investments to produce its own energy, give to the mycelium we use a very low impact on the environment.

This mycelium is combined by MycaNova with a recycled nylon fabric, using mostly biobased binding agents, to produce a biomaterial with a carbon footprint even lower that M_MAT_cactus. Discover the story behind M_MAT_mycelium here.

Exceptional sensory experience

Whether it is the M_MAT_cactus or the M_MAT_mycelium, our biomaterials deliver stunning aesthetics. The softness of their touch, their smooth flexibility and their noticeable olfactory notes, our materials stimulate beautifully all our senses.

It was a conscious decision we made for our materials to select a shine and a grain that replicate those of leather. For us it was about projecting ourselves into the future while remaining also fully focused on the present, about doing better for our planet without the burden of renouncing the emotions ‘Haute Maroquinerie’ can trigger.

But soon we might as well choose to move away from the comforting aesthetics of leather and offer quite different colors and textures. These innovative biomaterials give us the freedom to do pretty much whatever we want. 

Biomatériau M_MAT_Cactus utilisé par Maison Maes pour sa haute maroquinerie vegan à faible impact fabriquée en France
M_MAT_Cactus, alternative au cuir fabriquée à partir de cactus par Maison Maes pour sa haute maroquinerie vegan à faible impact : text de flexion Bailly pour valider sa résistance

Tested and validated durability

We constantly aim at putting only the most durable high-quality materials in the hands of our artisans.

All the materials we select are tested by an independent laboratory under the most demanding criteria (ISO or French standards), the very same standards and tests used by the leather goods industry. These tests allow us to control the physical properties of our materials (such as traction and tearing resistance, abrasion, flexibility) and consequently to ensure their ability to withstand the test of time.

We compared the test results of both the M_MAT_mycelium and the M_MAT_cactus with those of luxury-grade calf leather and it allowed us to confirm that our biomaterials bear comparison with the most precious leathers generally used to craft ‘Haute Maroquinerie’ products.


Learn more


Learn more


Learn more