In the past the Fashion Industry has gotten away with many things in the name of well… Fashion. Right from using whalebone’s to be used for creating corsets to killings minks and many other furred animals for their furs, the fashion industry has done it all, but over the last few decades there has been a sea change in such practices and ethical fashion has become the new fashion!
And rightfully so! Cruelty in the name of fashion is not real fashion. And many a fashion concepts have come under the microscope of ethical fashion and been denounced by the world. One such industry that has always come under the scrutiny of ethical fashion has been the leather industry.
There are many schools of thoughts, when it comes to the leather industry, given also the fact that leather manufacturing over the years has also raised various questions about its impact on the environment.
Well the answer to the above is pretty simple, leather has long as it is ethically sourced, that is, as a by-product of the meat industry and responsibly manufactured is ethical. And perhaps this is why leather is still in fashion today as compared to.. well… Mink coats!
However, lets also not forget that leather is one of the primary recycling industries that was established centuries ago. It holds a aspirational value, unlike other garments, and that is one of the main reason that whenever any industry comes out with a new fabric either recycled or environmental safe, they wish to it to be associated with leather to get the same notional value as leather. Sometimes industries tend to take it too far and try to sell non-eco friendly products in the name of leather.
But be that as it may, ethical leather hasn’t stopped many from coming up with alternatives to leather!
Consider, Pineapple leather
Leather by definition is derived from an animal hide, which is apparently a legal, by product of the meat industry.
Can a animal hide come out of a Pineapple? Then why call it leather? You wish to be associated with “leather” only for its heritage and aspirational value? It is misleading the consumer. Market a product on its own advantages.
Pineapple fabric is a very innovative and brilliant Idea and we salute company who launch such products. Using the waste of Pineapple harvest, employing 1000’s of people and helping under developed areas. It’s all great and profound. But it is still a Fabric and not leather.
Now lets look at another type of faux leather. Here the industries went too far with associating a non Eco friendly fabric made out of PVC and polyurethane with Leather which is pure Eco-friendly, natural product.
Seriously????? Is this what the fashion has come to? And the brands that are accepting Faux leather are completely on the wrong side. On one side every brand and corporation has a CSR department where they pledge to do something good for the society and for the environment and on the other side to have Faux leather items in the store for the sake of profits and basically selling a gimmick to the public while causing more damage to the planet.
Faux leather, made from PVC compounds, is non-biodegradable. It’s a form of Plastic.
The above three are perhaps the most popular “Faux Leather” in the market today. But is it correct to call them leather? Where one is a leather look alike fabric made out of pineapple skin, the other is made out of outright pollutants mostly plastic!
Whereas as leather, real leather is a by-product, a recycled product of the meat industry.