Jul 30, 2018


Photo by Charles Etoroma on Unsplash

What is Vegan Leather?

Vegan leather is a silly name the fashion industry adopted for 'faux leather materials' like
polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyurethane and textile-polymer composite microfibres.
These materials are much cheaper and are much less durable than real leather.

Slouchy Vegan Tote - Free People
Slouchy Vegan Tote | Free People

Why is it called "vegan" leather if is synthetic?

Vegan leather is just a marketing name. The fashion industry is aware that many people are opposed to real animal skins, that's why some brands use the 'vegan leather'  terminology.

They adopted this term to look cool, and more appealing to that specific customer.
(Disclosure: I don't buy real fur or exotic leather.)

Faux Leather Bag | Studio 33

Should I buy real leather, or vegan leather if I want to help preserve the environment?

Well, honestly both have their own direct and indirect impacts on the environment, just like any other human being that is alive.

Unfortunately, we are all guilty of destroying the nature and polluting the earth. Just think about it for a moment: How many plastic bags, plastic bottles, and food packaging we throw away every week?

Back to the question, we just have to figure out which one has less impact on the environment. Let's have a look at the manufacturing process and the durability of each product:

Raw or pure leather:
- Biodegradable: Yes
- Chemicals needed: Depends on the tanning process. Some leather tannery uses many chemicals, while others use 100% vegetable process without using chrome, or any metals to the process. (Please choose the latter).
- Durability: Average 5-10 years (handbag lifecycle)
- Decompose: 50 years (leather )

Distressed Leather Tote | Free People

Faux/ Vegan leather:
- Biodegradable: No
- Chemicals needed: It depends:
PVC: Produces harmful dioxins and uses highly toxic chlorine.
Polyurethane (PU): Raw materials of PU comes from fossil fuels, and producing PU is not yet entirely non-toxic.
- Durability: Average 6 months - 1 year  (handbag lifecycle)
- Decompose:  500-1000 years (PVC)

Vegan Leather Backpack | Free People

My thoughts about exotic skin products:

Please don't support this practice. Many animals like ostrich, lizards, crocs, snakes, and sharks, are often farmed or hunted specifically for their skin.

Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Why I think cow leather is ok, and exotic skin is NOT ok?

Many have argued that leather is a by-product of the meat industry. I honestly don't think the entire population will ever become vegan, and we will stop farming cows.

Croc Embossed is an alternative to exotic leather. Trademark | Garden Bag

Ps: Last thoughts: 
What no one is talking about: DENIM

A while ago I went to the MAGIC trade show in La Vegas and watched a seminar about different cool denim washes, and something caught my attention.
The seminar was about all the different types of denim washes, and how bad the washing process is in terms of pollution. It never crossed my mind that a simple denim causes that amount of pollution. In fact, the textile industry as the whole is really bad in terms of pollution.

Denim | GRLFRD Karolina High Rise

According to Greenpeace:
"Blue jeans are much dirtier than you might ever guess. That cool distressed denim wash is the result of several chemical-intensive washes. Fabric printing and dyeing involve such heavy metals as cadmium, lead, and mercury - not stuff that you want to be getting near your bare skin!"

Natural Fibers: always a good choice. Serpui | Charlotte Clutch

Check out the TOP 10 MOST ICONIC HANDBAGS OF ALL TIME. Hint: they are made out of real leather.