Can Leather Be Ethical?

 
 

We Believe So!

There is some disagreement about whether or not "ethical" and "leather" can be used in the same sentence. For some, ethical fashion means fashion absent of fur or leather.

After a lot of research, we have a different standpoint! Leather is a by-product of the meat industry. As long as there is a demand for meat, there will be leather. According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, 35 million cow hides are produced annually...and that's just in the U.S! If those were not turned into leather and made into leather goods, they would sit in landfills. Which sounds more ethical to you? In our opinion, limiting the amount of waste that ends up in landfills is the most ethical choice, so we proudly sell leather goods!

But let's be clear, just because the use of leather is ethical, it does not mean that it's ethically made.

Ethically made refers to the conditions that the product was made in. (The definition varies depending on who you're talking to; to read a detailed definition of what ethically made means to us, visit this page.)

Not only do we believe the use of leather is ethical, all of our leather products (and any past and future products!) are ethically made as well.

The process of producing leather is often typically harmful to the people involved and to the environment. There are two methods used frequently to dye leather, chrome-tanning and aldehyde-tanning. Chrome-tanning is the most popular and uses chromium salts which are highly toxic and carcinogenic, frequently causing nasal, lung, sinus, bladder, pancreatic and respiratory cancer. In addition, it can cause bronchitis, asthma, pharyngitis, polyps of the upper respiratory tract and the enlargement of the hilar region and lymph nodes. If it comes into contact with skin, it can cause "chrome holes," erosive ulcerations that won't heal.
Watch the video below to hear a testimony of the harm leather tanning caused an individual in India. Aldehyde-tanning is the popular "chromium-free" option, but the formaldehyde used is extremely toxic as well.

 

The leather used to make our products is not dyed using these harmful processes.

Instead, the leather in all of our products has been dyed using a process called vegetable-tanning. Unlike the processes discussed above, vegetable-tanning does not use any harmful chemicals. Instead, it uses plants, branches, bark, leaves and even flowers to tan the leather. It has no harmful effects to the workers involved or the product users (that's you!). It can last an entire lifetime, but if it ceases to be used, it is also bio-degradable. It is always a sub-product of the meat industry, meaning no animals were killed solely for their hides. It also brings out the leather's natural qualities, meaning each product looks unique. It has remarkable aging qualities and an incredibly sought after look.

There is one downside though...the process requires a large amount of water. It is our dream to use a percentage of our profits to fund research of more sustainable processes and textiles, in order to eventually create textiles that not only cause zero harmful effects to people and the environment, but actually benefit the environment. Unfortunately, right now there is no such thing. So until then, we are committed to using textiles and process that do not cause harm to the artisans and people involved, and that cause the least amount of effects to the environment.

In purchasing our products you're....