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Date Established 03/2024
Founder Neel Elsherif
Press Contact Daniel


Mela means “apple” in Italian and is pronounced may-luh. We are an emerging premium apple leather brand, proudly crafting high-quality, apple-based leather goods in Italy.

Our products elevate sustainable style in a fresh and empoweringway, redefining the world of eco-luxury.

Founding Story

Mela Founder, Neel Elsherif became hyper-aware of the void between vegan brands and luxury brands in the current fashion industry. On the vegan side, you typically see simple, neutral colors, and on the luxury side, you’ll find bold and stunning colors and styles. 

This dynamic creates a dilemma for those who are both eco-conscious and fashion-forward.

And it doesn’t feel right that all-vegan brands tend to primarily target only the vegan community. We should be providing everyone with the opportunity to look good while doing good. To shop with a brand that’s inviting to everyone and encourages small steps to make a big change in our world today.

When Neel learned about MelaTex, the material itself, the story behind it… she was inspired and motivated to bridge the gap between these two markets. Because there had to be a middle ground. This is where Mela was born. 

Finally, a vegan leather brand that delivers luxurious and stunning fashion that’s empowering AND impactful!


Luna $650.00
Nora $650.00
Celim $585.00
Farah $620.00
Mona $650.00

Team Bios


Neel Elsherif


see bio

Neel Elsherif brings experience and insight to the fashion production industry, excelling in development, mass volume manufacturing management, global business negotiations, and trading. She earned her BFA from Moore College of Art & Design, majoring in Fashion Design and Business/Entrepreneurship.

Neel’s intense attention to detail, standards of quality, hands-on garment-making knowledge, creativity, craftsmanship, and dedication are only a few of the skills that have set her up for success in a competitive industry. Her biggest asset is that she understands the industry from all angles.

Mentored by Frank Agostino straight out of college, she has experience in the New York market, overseeing some of the largest, high-profile accounts, including but not limited to: Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, Sam’s Club, Beall’s, Shopbop, Steinmart, and Vigoss. A clothing designer in her own right, Neel created and sold her own collection of custom evening wear. With her diverse resume, she is able to share a broad spectrum of experience with startups as a mentor for Ballard Spahr’s BASE program. She has additionally shared herindustry knowledge working as an adjunct professor, teaching graduate studies at Moore.

To top it off, she is the founder and CEO of GuardeX New York, a company that began as an effort to donate much-needed supplies during the pandemic. She was quick to establish herself as a leader and innovator in the industry, utilizing tech-driven fabrics and finding eco- friendly solutions. Neel has made charitable contributions to multiple outlets including the Bell Organization, Greene Towne Montessori, and Mainchance, among others. As a result, she was featured both in Forbes Magazine and listed in the LA Wire’s prestigious 40 Under 40.

Neel didn’t stop there. In 2022, she founded and launched Mela, a luxury vegan leather brand that thinks about the future of our planet. Mela thrives to providing a sustainable replacement for traditional leather by using her own innovative materials and patent such as MelaTexTM. These are the practices and values Neel was thrilled to drive forward into the fashion industry while showcasing the unique and bold goods Mela has to offer. Neel successfully promotes sustainability, vegan living, cruelty-free practices, and fashion for eco-conscious individuals. Mela was recently featured in Vogue as “The brand that will always emphasize looking good while doing good for the world.” Mela was proudly awarded Marie Claire’s 2023 Sustainability Award for “Best Brand in Category” in the world. Neel’s Egyptian roots and global connections only further complement her wealth of knowledge, providing a solid foundation upon which Mela and its partners can thrive.

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