Ana Tafur meets the harsh reality of fast fashion. Unsustainability, pollution, and the grind of life in Shanghai brings Ana to realize that this simply is not the life she intended to live. Upon leaving her position as product line manager of one of China’s largest apparel manufacturers, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery that leads her throughout Latin America where she begins her search for innovative biomaterial alternatives for the fashion industry.


After learning different ancient techniques and reflecting on the environmental awareness of the communities that she visited during her travels, Ana arrives in Peru and founds SAKE. SAKE is the fruition of a dream that began with the search for something more intimate: a fashion brand whose main characteristics are sustainability and respect for nature and human life.


Ana creates a mobile laboratory and travels throughout Peru; she learns from the country’s diverse cultures in search of new and innovative biotextile techniques. She experiments with and creates formulas for a vegetable-based leather tanning process. As with any innovation, the project’s early stages are riddled with iterations of trial and error. Ana’s determination to produce garments free of carcinogenic compounds eventually proves successful.


Ana continues her research of unique, eco-friendly, and sustainable clothing materials. First, she encounters the Sharinga tree, which grows abundantly in the Amazon rainforest; liquid latex sap is extracted from the Sharinga tree’s bark without harm to the tree or its ecosystem. Ana begins research into the applicable uses of this latex sap as a biotextile and leather substitute. 

In the same year, she achieves a ground-breaking innovation. The Amazonian Paiche fish captures Ana’s attention for its unique scale patterns and for its environmental impact: the Paiche fish is a staple of the Amazonian diet and the fishing industry produces tons of waste from fish entrails and skins annually.  After months of research and collaboration with local fisheries, Ana transforms Paiche skin into a viable and sustainable leather material for the SAKE brand product line. The result is a never-before-seen product on the market and the elimination of unnecessary waste.


Ana continues to improve her bio-materials and tanning formulas through research and innovation. She utilizes fewer and fewer chemical-based compounds (such as lead and sulfur) and she begins tanning leather using natural, conscious, and eco-friendly techniques.


On one of her research trips through the Andes, Ana learns of native cotton. Native cotton has natural color pigmentation in hues from cream to purple to green and thus does not require the added step of being dyed, a process that can use significant amounts of water. Additionally, native cotton production does not require chemical fertilizers or pesticides, therefore protecting drinking water and the fertility of the land.


Ana’s newest project at SAKE is to produce chrome-free, sulfur-free, and petroleum-free leather. SAKE is eradicating all carcinogenic compounds from its vegan and natural tanning process and, in turn, is offering a sustainable and less harmful leather product.  

Today, the search for new biotextiles continues. SAKE is committed to improving the quality and reducing the environmental impact of our future collections. Research and laboratory experimentation have not stopped as we push the bounds of sustainability in the fashion industry.

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