The stakes in the debate over leather are growing. Leather goods, largely handbags and shoes, are the biggest and highest margin category in the luxury sector. Fashion recognises the need to reduce its carbon footprint, and leather’s own footprint is relatively large as far as materials go because of the emissions associated with animal agriculture. The tanning process also relies on toxic chemicals that are harmful for workers and the environment. Even most vegan options are petroleum-based, which is not a particularly sustainable alternative. Still, leather proponents say that it would be wasteful to not use the hides left over from the process of meat production. It’s also durable, and therefore can fit into the “buy less, buy better” ethos.
What does ‘sustainable fashion’ mean?
Not to be confused with ‘ethical fashion‘ (although they often go hand-in-hand), ‘sustainable fashion’ essentially refers to how the clothing will affect the environment – in production, through sales and how it’s then transported and creates waste. Also, leather will never be an animal-friendly product: It is made of dead animal skin. However, the skin used to make leather comes from animals raised for their meat. In that sense, it uses a by-product from another industry, so it doesn’t actually need additional land and resources.
Conventional leather is heavily criticized for the environmental impact of the tanning process. But leather can also be eco-friendly. There are not many options in the market yet, but they do exist.
How to shop more sustainability?
If you think shopping for sustainable brands means spending more money, you’re not alone – but Florence leather market‘s philosophy says first and foremost, a great way to be more sustainable is to simply work with what you already have. “Shop your wardrobe, it says. “Re-use what you have. Do clothes swaps with friends. And if you have to buy new, get informed and then seek out brands that are really trying to produce more sustainably, especially follow these good rules.
Here are some things you can do to curb your effect on the environment, when it comes to shopping for clothing:
- Avoid trends, buy classic timeless designs The absolute best, most sustainable thing you can do, when it comes to shopping for clothing, is to buy an item and wear it as frequently as possible, for as long as possible.
- Buy the best quality you can afford With the same idea of avoiding trends so your purchases will last longer, you should also try to buy the highest quality (most durable) product you can afford.
- Buy natural fibres, not synthetic Always buy clothing made from all-natural fibbers (like wool, cotton, linen, silk, hemp, etc), not synthetic fibres (like polyester, nylon, spandex, rayon, acrylic, etc).
- Know your size, and how to use alterations One of the biggest reasons people throw-out clothing is because it doesn’t fit. Never buy the wrong size, even if it’s on a crazy last-chance clearance sale. You won’t wear it.
We hope this helps you. There should be nothing stopping you from dressing with style, in a sustainable way, on any budget. If you are interested in it, also read our article on “how Florence Leather market makes an eco-friendly business”
Thanks, as always, for reading and doing your part. Together we can make a difference.