Behind the Scenes with Production: The Uppeal™ Factory

O My Bag launched our very first Uppeal™ collection in October 2021, (formerly known as AppleSkin™) which was an exciting journey that required working closely with our production partner Maybel Synthetic. Due to COVID restrictions we were unable to visit the factory in person, but recently we were able to make our first visit, where we got to meet the team and get a behind-the-scenes look at the process.
by Mairead Carter on Feb 14, 2022

In December 2021, Giulia, our Store Manager and Jessica, our Production Manager made the trip to Florence, Italy. Although there have been many months of phone calls and emails, at O My Bag we believe it’s important to build production relationships in person, and experience the day-to-day operations to see exactly how the material is made.

Mabel Synthetic, has been creating innovative vegan materials since 1978 for both the fashion industry as well as for office utilities such as book bindings. Since 2010, Mabel has been the producer of Uppeal™, a new material developed and patented by the Bolzano based company FRUMAT, which offers an alternative to animal leather, and can now be found in the vegan collection at O My Bag.

The team at Mabel Synthetic were equally happy to receive visitors and Giulia & Jessica were able to meet with our account manager Mattia Guglielmini. Mattia took them for a tour around the factory and explained in detail the production of the material. A detailed description of the production process can be found here.

Giulia and Jessica taking a break in the sun at Mabel factory.

Mabel Synthetic works closely with a company called FRUMAT who are responsible for the collection and processing of apple waste, before it reaches Mabel Synthetic and is turned into Uppeal™. Having a clear overview of this multiple step process means we can increase our tier 3 traceability and we were able to gain some further insight with the following questions:


The apple waste includes excess skins, stems and fibres which are by-products of the fruit juice and apple sauce industry sourced locally in Trention, Italy. Approximately 30.000 tons of apple waste is produced from local companies and farms, of which FRUMAT collects and processes. Not only are FRUMAT and Mabel Synthetic able to repurpose the waste, but the cost and environmental impact of disposal are also avoided. Due to the climate and other agricultural elements, the majority of apple production is based in Trention, Italy and as a result FRUMAT plans to continue local operations.


The apple waste powder is mixed with cotton, polyester and viscose, allowing for strength, flexibility and durability. Due to quantity restrictions the process uses mostly virgin materials, however there are plans to switch to recycled polyester once the quantity requirements are met.


Once the apple waste powder has been mixed with the polyester, viscose and cotton powder, the production process requires the textile to be soaked in PU for a direct coating. Although this step is necessary to finish and close the exterior of the material, the textile also absorbs the PU, meaning that PU is also in the structural composition. Unfortunately recycled polyurethane is not an available resource in the industry, therefore Mabel Synthetic are working to find an alternative to replace the polyurethane and protect the bags with an organic based alternative. They are currently testing a material based on cane sugar and microalgae, but they are yet to find a viable solution.


Because Uppeal™ consists of multiple materials, including some that are synthetic, this means the final material is not biodegradable. Regarding the recyclability, in most scenarios it’s only possible to recycle materials that have a pure composition, for example it is possible to recycle 100% polyester into 100% recycled polyester. When a material has a mixed composition this becomes much more complicated. In the case of Uppeal™, it is not possible to recycle due to the mixed materials.

From apples, the apple waste is turned into an apple powder which is then turned into a liquid state and finally pressed into the leather sheets.

We are happy to report that Mabel will also be publishing a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) that includes further information on the impact of Uppeal™. This study will give insights into the exact impacts that the material has on the environment and also helps Mabel to identify areas of improvement in order to take effective action.

Mabel Synthetic and FRUMAT set high sustainability standards for themselves. They are continuously improving, and are completely transparent in all steps of the production process. These are important values for O My Bag, so we are happy and proud to have found these partners for our alternative leather collection and we are curious to see what the future will bring. We look forward to future visits at Mabel Synthetic. Want to know more about our vegan alternative? You can read more here. To shop the full Uppeal™ Collection click here.


Femke x

Audrey - Cognac Vegan Uppeal™