You may have heard about the growing popularity of vegan leather, but what exactly is it? The answer isn’t as simple as you might have thought; vegan leather can be derived from a variety of different sources (as mentioned below) but essentially it is an ethical, cruelty-free alternative to real leather.
If you weren’t already aware, leather is a flexible, durable and waterproof fabric that’s made from animal rawhide and skin. As if the cruelty to animals wasn’t enough, making this animal-based material often requires the use of hazardous chemicals and heavy metals like chrome, which pose environmental issues. But here’s a crazy thought: what if we could get all the fabric’s benefits without having to harm any animals or leave a large carbon footprint in the process? Well, luckily for us vegans and vegetarians, when there’s a will, there’s a way! The only problem now is choosing which vegan leather to go for. We’ve listed a couple of our favourites below to help…
Yep, you read that right. You can actually get cruelty-free leather that’s made from waste pineapple leaves. We appreciate it sounds a little mad but trust us, it’s pretty damn good stuff. And there’s something quite fitting about vegan leather being made from fruit, don’t you agree? Not only does this leather alternative spare the animals, but it has clear advantages for the environment, too. Unlike creating other products – be they food or materials – making pineapple leather doesn’t require any land, water, pesticides or fertilisers; it’s simply a waste product that is up-cycled to create a fashionable, durable leather alternative that looks and performs like the real thing.
What’s more, pineapple leather provides additional income for farmers and has opened up a whole new industry for pineapple growing countries. We could honestly go on about it all day long but you’ve probably got the gist by now!
So, if you thought we were going crazy with pineapple leather then we may be taking it one step further with this one: vegan leather that’s made from cork. You’re probably picturing a cork board, wondering how on earth something like that could ever be transformed into a fashion item. Well, firstly we don’t blame you (we did the same!) and secondly, while we don’t know the ins and outs of the manufacturing process, we do know that it looks absolutely great and nothing like a cork board at all!
Just like pineapple leather, it’s far more environmentally friendly in comparison to the traditional animal-based fabric. It’s recyclable, biodegradable and incredibly versatile, too, not to mention how good it looks and feels! Despite how lightweight it is, as well as being water-resistant, cork leather is surprisingly tough on general wear and tear. And while nothing lasts forever, you’re likely to get a good few years out of your cork leather products, and as they’re stain-resistant and scratch-proof, too, they’ll age in style.
Oh and in case you didn’t know…
A LOT of your typical high street brands offer non-leather products, so if you’re out and about in town then have a quick look at the information labels – you may be surprised at how many shoes, bags and jackets you can find that are actually vegan friendly. A good indicator of whether a product is made of real leather or not is the price; leather is considered a somewhat luxurious and high-quality fabric and, in most cases, that will be reflected in the RRP. Additionally, if a brand is using real leather then they’ll likely want to promote that fact. So, if there’s no mention of it being real then the chances are it isn’t! Be sure to double check though and, where possible, only buy from ethical sources that you know about and trust.