M_MAT, our alternatives to leather

From day one, we refused leather and committed to offer a new approach to ‘Haute Maroquinerie’, as qualitative and durable, but much more sustainable.

We only select 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, 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.

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

Significantly-lower impact

In October 2019, after more than 2 years of research and development, Mexican company Adriano di Marti launched a high-quality biomaterial called Desserto, made from Nopal cactus with an environmental impact much lower than that of leather.

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 Desserto’s environmental performance data here

Exceptional sensory experience

The M_MAT_CACTUS cactus delivers stunning aesthetics. The softness of its touch, its smooth flexibility and its noticeable olfactory notes, this material stimulates beautifully all our senses.

It was a conscious decision we made for M_MAT_cactus 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. This is up to our designer Géraldine Saquy, as the innovative biomaterials we select 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 the M_MAT_cactus with those of luxury-grade calf leather and it allowed us to confirm that our biomaterial bears comparison with the most precious leathers generally used to craft ‘Haute Maroquinerie’ products.


All our handbags and small leather goods are handcrafted in France by renowned artisans.

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Returns are free up to 30 days from the delivery date of your order.

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Our handbags are designed to withstand the test of time. However, we provide any necessary repair without any limit in time.

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