The Decision To Use Real Leather Over Vegan Leather
At Scarlet Destiny, we use vegetable tanned leather for our luxury accessories, a fabric which uses natural tannins during the production process such as tree bark, olives, rhubarb, roots, and wood. We have researched many tanneries over the last couple of years and only work with ones that have taken into consideration the impact of the process on the planet (there are very few). The leather suppliers we use are working towards the LWG Gold Standard (https://group.ecco.com/en/responsibility/tanneries) but it is a long and expensive process. However, they are the founding members of the Tuscany Vegetable Tanners Association who have the highest standards of ethical sourcing of hides and non-toxic use of chemicals during the tanning process of anyone in the world. In fact, less than 10% of leather in the world is tanned using this process given its long production time, which is usually up to two months. It has been a very difficult decision to use leather given the knowledge we have of the impact of livestock on the planet. But we still consume a lot of meat in the UK with an average daily consumption of 226g per day (viva.org.uk), and although some reports claim that it would be better to burn the skins from food processing rather than utilise them for products, we disagree.
Real leather derives from various animals such as cows, goats, buffalos, and pigs and has a myriad of advantages from its durability to its strength whilst also being weather-proof and physically has a look that a lot of faux leather cannot imitate. Genuine leather ranges in type, whether that be nubuck, patent, saffiano, semi-aniline or suede which all have a different finish. Prices can vary drastically as there are so many factors affecting the cost, from the animal breed, animal welfare to the dyeing process and transportation used. The material is in fact biodegradable if it is processed naturally i.e. without chromium and the list of toxic chemicals normally present in the processing of most leather, which may comfort those who are conscious of the environmental impact of their wardrobe but still want to wear leather, then veg tan is your option.
Conscious consumers also face the issue of just how sustainable the vegan leathers are, such as Pinatex which is non-biodegradable due to the being coated with a petroleum-based material and PU leather, an alternative that is supposedly sustainable yet can use fossil fuels in the process of making it. Until more small brands can obtain fully sustainable leather alternatives, veg tan leather is potentially the best option for consumers as it holds properties that faux leather cannot provide.
Given the research we have uncovered are you more or less likely to buy products made from vegetable tan leather?
Information sourced from:
Featured image sourced from m0851, Unsplash.
Image 1 sourced from Pixabay, Pexels.
Image 3 sourced from Damir Omerovic, Unsplash.
Image 4 sourced from Kelly Sikkema, Unsplash.