Today I wanted to talk about a subject that I’ve discovered quite recently, which is the one of why you should give up on animal leather and consider vegan leather as a cruelty-free alternative. Just as beauty brands are doing less and less experiments on animals (which is a cause that I deeply care about), I find that fashion is not quite there yet. More and more people realise today the level of cruelty of these practices, which is amazing! So today I want to talk about 3 reasons why you should give up on leather and show you an entirely vegan and eco-friendly outfit.
LET’S TALK ABOUT LEATHER
Considering the health of our bodies and the benefits of a vegan diet are great. But I believe that it doesn’t make much sense to eat a plant-based diet, but then to buy leather goods and fur. For once thing, regardless of being vegan or not, I find it sad that in the world that we live in today and the advanced technology that we are able to get, that people still buy real fur.
I mean, no.
The process of turning skin into leather is very cruel to animals, some are slaughtered as babies, having spent their entire lives in confinement, and are then skinned or boiled alive. Rabbits, foxes, and even reptiles are often mutilated alive, their skin ripped off and for what: for a day’s outfit? Not worth it. Today you can get so many good faux fur items that I still cannot believe people dare wearing real fur! In my recent trip to Spain, I was brought to a real fur shop with my family, and I had to leave because my brain couldn’t stop thinking about all those images I’ve seen from PETA and many other associations, showing the real side of human cruelty when skin’s ripped off.
I know we all love little cute rabbits on our Instagram and Facebook feeds, so why do we close our eyes when it comes to leather handbags and shoes?
Reason n°1: It inflicts cruelty to animals
Simply put: the meat and dairy industries are obviously correlated. As you may know, male cows go straight to the slaughterhouse, while female ones are exploited for milk until they are no further profitable, and then sent to the slaughterhouse.
Human consumption of meat is limited to certain parts of the calf. So their skin is directly sold to fashion powerhouses, who then turn it into leather goods that we’ve always seen: shoes, bags, jackets… etc etc. Sadly, every year, over one billion animals are killed just for the leather industry, and the saddest part is that cats and dogs are also used to create leather, which are always mislabelled on purpose and you don’t even know you’re wearing it.
Now onto the real tragedy: cows are forced to walk for days, often without food and water, in awful conditions (often in India and China), and the cattle that collapses sees their bones broken or eyes filled with chilli pepper… Cows are complex animals that can feel pain, are intelligent, and can even mourn the death of their friends and family.
Reason n°2: It is highly polluting
First of all, raising animals for feed requires huge amounts of energy, feed, pastureland and water. Animals on factory farms produce 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population, without the benefit of waste treatment plants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has even acknowledged that livestock pollution is the greatest threat to our waterways (Extract from peta.org).
Many chemicals such as zinc, lead, dyes and cyanides are used for the production of leather as we know it today. These toxic compounds do not disintegrate easily. The groundwater near these tanneries has been found to have highly elevated levels of a variety of toxic substances as well.
Reason n°3: Because there are beautiful leather alternatives
There are many ways you can shop consciously, but let’s start with accesories, which are the easiest for me. There is a new kid in town called Bourgeois Boheme, and they specialise in vegan and ethical shoes. The quality is INSANELY good, and when you open the box, you can even smell the leather, but it’s not! Well, actually it is. Not animal leather, of course, but plant leather. Say what? Bourgeois Boheme is a London-based brand, created by an ex-pediatrist named Alicia. The shoes are made in Portugal in a sustainable manner, and is one of the most established vegan footwear brands out there. For their vegan leather, they use:
- Cotton-backed Microfibre PU (Polyurethane): it’s a microfibre very similar to natural leather and suede.
- Bio-Polyoils: a cool recycling process of plant-based polymers. Meaning that grains and seeds derived from cereals rather than from petrochemicals. This process also means that the CO2 emissions are at zero level.
- Piñatex: Coming soon, and truly excited about this one – this is a natural and sustainable textile made from pineapple leave fibres. They are coming out in May this year!
Many high-street stores also make leather-imitation goods, like my skirt. However, these ones are often made with PVC, a plastic that contains chloride and is not bio-degradable.
Ultimately, the choice comes to down to you, and how you want to invest your money. There are many other vegan leather brands out there, and I will be writing a detailed blogpost about it soon!
I want to live a life where I know where I spend my money in, and making choices that I’m proud of. I would always feel guilty when I would watch PETA’s videos showing animal cruelty, and by going on a vegan diet, I’ve decided to make better choices for the animals and the ever-so-damaged environment. Perhaps the hardest thing about it all is having to say ‘no’ to the biggest luxury houses that I’ve always admired, but knowing I’m doing something good feels so much more powerful than spending thousands on a crocodile or baby cow bag.
And you? What’s your position about this topic? I’m looking forward to reading your comments!
I AM WEARING
VINTAGE COAT (bough in Japan 3 years ago)
OASIS DENIM SHIRT
H&M FAUX LEATHER SKIRT (old)
BOURGEOIS BOHEME SHOES (Jessica model, size EU 37/ UK 4)