I used to read Vogue like it was the guide book of my life. It was my favorite thing to get in the mail, it was my daily outfit inspiration in high school (instagram and pinterest didn't exist back then), and I felt that if I was going to be a designer, getting published in Vogue would be the only thing that would make me a success.
Boy have my feelings changed. I recently started reading some of their articles about ethical and sustainable fashion and found myself deeply frustrated. They were talking to big brands/names like Stella McCartney, and I found myself wondering what the hell she knows about ethical or sustainable fashion, so I started trying to research her company. I found nothing. I can't figure out where her products are made, where she sources her materials, or anything of the sort. All I see is that she is a friend to animals, and although I think that is fantastic, her company not being more transparent about her production, likely means she's not a friend to the humans making her products.
In an incredibly biased piece of writing I read on vogue.com I found myself almost yelling out loud in my store. (NOT a good look for passing customers. lol) The article was about ethical/sustainable fashion, and Stella McCartney was being interviewed for it. There were some pretty incredible claims about her plastic bags/shoes being just as biodegradable as a leather product.
From all my my research, I have learned that almost 100% of "vegan" products on the market are made of, or coated in petroleum. These kind of products will not break down within our lifetimes, and can often end up in the ocean, and then in the stomachs of marine life.
So you will all understand my excitement when I woke up this morning to a google alert that two leather experts have clapped back hard at both Vogue and Stella McCartneys claims.
But here are some bullet points-
1. Egbert Dikkers, Global Director Sustainability at chemical manufacturer Smit & Zoon and Leather Naturally Chairman states that as long as people are eating meat the hides and skins will become available as a by-product, and upcycling this into leather is the best thing to do to prevent landfill.
2. Brands choosing leather as their favorite material make the right choice as leather articles last way longer than alternative materials of which most of are oil-based with the waste, largely ending up in our oceans and landfill. Leather is all about longevity, the first and preferred way to be more sustainable as a consumer.
3. He also explains that although chemicals are used the leather production, Vogues claims that the chemicals used are in some way worse than those produced by a petroleum based material. In addition, the article suggests that consumers are in some way unaware that most of the materials we use day to day have some kind of chemicals used in the process of making. Think about the rubber in your tires, the chemical coating/finishing on the wood floors in your house or the chemicals you use to keep your house clean.
4. Many of the clothing we purchase today involves blends of nylon or polyester (the materials that make our clothes stretchy and comfortable) are also plastics, and will not biodegrade.
5. Leather, as long as it is not chrome dyed, will in fact biodegrade overtime.
6. In the real world, people eat meat and this produces hides and skins; the only ethical choice is to use those hides and skins, and leather is the best option.