Vegan leather isn’t perfect! – Alexia explores the pros and cons of fake leather

February 27, 2020 Published by Alexia Alterations

Vegan leather isn’t perfect! – Alexia explores the pros and cons of fake leather

February 27, 2020 Published by Alexia Alterations
  • Every year, billions of animals suffer and die for our clothes and accessories. 
  • Fur, leather and wool contribute to climate change and land devastation. 
  • Fabrics such as PVC and PU that look exactly the same as real leather are made from petroleum oil which is a non-renewable resource.
  • More sustainable and biodegradable fabrics such as pinatex, lenzing tencil, cork, seacell, mycoworks (mushroom skin) can also replace leather. 

We recently altered a fur coat and were asked to add a leather belt to it… so off I went to fabric shops to find leather.

At the shop, the sales lady just pulled out a whole stack of lamb skins, which made me feel a little queasy. I didn’t expect to see the actual shape of the animal! She explained that I could not buy just a piece, it had to be the whole skin.  

The price of the skin was high too, just for a simple belt the client would have to fork out £150 for just the skin. It just didn’t make any sense for the client nor for my conscience! 

She then showed me their stock of “fake leather” also known as “vegan leather” or “pleather”. It looked exactly the same (if not better) as our little lamb. I was amazed. And the price? £20 for the exact quantity I needed.  

Vegan Leather is made up of a microfiber that’s made form petroleum oil which is a non-renewable resource. Transforming this oil into vegan leather requires a lot of dangerous chemicals that harm the environment as well as the people involved in the production. PVC does not biodegrade; it just breaks into smaller and smaller plastic pieces. 

There is also an issue with breathability. PVC is not breathable like real leather. That’s why you are always going to feel sweaty and sticky in fake leather (fine for bags and belts, but not so much for shoes and pants!) 

I am not saying that vegan leather is bad, after all it is better than killing an animal. But it is not perfect. So when buying fake leather garments or accessories I would recommend doing the following: 

  1. Check if it is made out of recycled plastic (like Stella McCartney’s bags)
  2. Try to find fake leather products made out of more sustainable materials than PVC. Innovations in vegan leather (such as as Pinatex (pineapple leaves), SeaCell (seaweed) and Mycoworks (mushroom skin) will make vegan leather much more eco friendly.
  3. Ask yourself: Do I really need to buy this? Afterall, consumption of anything is always going to harm the environment. 
  4. Think quality and durability – you don’t want to end up buying vegan leather shoes thinking you are helping the environment only to buy another pair 2 months later because they ripped. 
  5. Make sure you are comfortable (vegan trainers anyone? Literally the most painful trainers I ever owned!) 

Whether real or fake leather be conscious of what you are buying and the impact it has on our planet. The thing is… do we really need either? 

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