Malai can be used for most processes in animal leather. It can be hand sewn, machine sewn, cut, laser cut, embossed glued and skived. We have tested and tried using Malai on a wide range of products. This material is quite light, hygroscopic and has quite a bit of shape memory. Malai is still undergoing R&D process in order to finetune its tensile strength, abrasion resistance and elongation %.
The success of using Malai biocomposite depends greatly on three factors : application, design and manufacturing method.
In comparison with conventional hydes Malai has lower % of elongation and therefore it is not suitable for all kinds of footwear types yet. We have so far successfully tested it for use in light footwear, sandals and slippers.
Prototype of a barefoot shoe by Ahinsa Footwear (CZ)
Prototype of sandals by Eva Klabalova & Lucie Trejtnarova (CZ, 2019)
Malai performs quite well when applied on products like bags, wallets, pouches, etc. Here design is the decisive factor. Due to its semi-stiff temper it is suitable especially for structural products that require holding shape. The temper of Malai can be softened temporarily using steam or glycerine which may ease the making process but this process is reversible.
Versatile maxi bag / interior object by Libena Rochova (CZ, 2019)
Hat box by Kazeto (CZ, 2018)
A wide array of products for interior use can be made using Malai ranging from furniture, cushions, stationary, storage boxes or surface panels.
Bar stool prototype by TON (CZ, 2018)
Interior vessel / object by Libena Rochova (CZ, 2019)