Leather & Sustainability

There is a huge debate about whether or not real leather is a sustainable fabric. For some vegetarians and vegans, leather is not an option. I guess if you don’t eat the animals why would you wear them? I do believe we eat too much meat and that our consumption of meat should be greatly reduced, but we, as a society, will never stop eating meat completely, and in this case, the leather is a by-product of that.

The making process of faux/vegan leather or leatherette comes with it’s own sustainability and ethical issues. Faux leather or Polyurethane is basically plastic. And as we all know our cheap Primark or H&M handbags, belt and shoes, never last that long. So aside from having to replace them more regularly, the pieces we’ve discarded will take up to 400 years to decompose, meaning it will end up in a landfill. Real leather takes between 25-50 years to fully decompose. That is a huge difference. Also, if treated properly, you could get 25+ years out of your real leather pieces. How many great leather pieces have you found in vintage shops that are in almost perfect condition?


It is definitely more of an ethical issue whether you choose to buy real leather or not, but for me, I think if it’s a piece I will wear for years to come, and regularly, then I might invest. Remember though, there is still a limit to how much of the material we should be producing and buying, and we still need to consider where our pieces are being made.

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Photo Credit

A good example of brands working with real leather in a sustainable way is MAHI Leather, who produce their leather bags made to order and better life BAGS who also let you design your own bag. Working in this way means they are not over producing goods. By meeting the consumer’s needs this way it is at the power of the consumer to regulate the consumption levels, which is a really great way of working.

If you’re looking for a great investment bag, either a strong & durable rucksack for college (that’s exactly what I’m on the hunt for) or the perfect weekend bag for your many adventures, real leather could be the perfect fit for your needs.

What do you guys think about buying real leather? Do you think it’s a good investment or never a good option? I’d love to know how you feel about it.xx


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