The Ladybug’s pleasure and pain: the leather dilemma!

When you start your journey towards a more conscious and sustainable way of dressing and buying clothes there will be many obstacles on the way! From the things that you like but you know they are not sustainable at all (this may happen a lot at the beginning, especially when you start your detox from Zara!) to the fabrics that you adore but you have to be very careful of, starting also a new path of knowledge and information regarding different textiles and their production (this type of obstacle usually starts later in your path when you become more sensitive to these topics).

The latter is the case that I want to share today, in particular my very huge obstacle regarding real leather.

When we discuss real leather the topic is so huge and complex that it is easy to be confused and honestly sometimes I still am! The factors to be considered are so many: terminology for example. Leather, real leather, faux leather, vegan leather, PU etc. but are we sure that we really know what we are talking about? Is vegan leather sustainable because it does not kill animals to be produced? Vegan leather is often made from polyurethane, with an high environmental impact during the production and the disposal phase, then we cannot really say that it is a sustainable alternative to real leather. But it can also be made from innovative and sustainable materials such as pineapple leaves, cork, apple peels, other fruit waste, and recycled plastic even if the prices for these pieces are often not really affordable due to the high production costs. Moreover, vegan leather is not very durable.

Other factors; transparency and environmental impact of the production cycle, use of water and other polluting chemical materials, animal exploitation etc. All these factors have to be considered to define some type of leather as sustainable.

However, the tanning sector is starting important changes to make its production more transparent and sustainable also by introducing new quality certifications, thanks to the more conscious consumers who are really careful when it comes to sustainability, even in fashion (the tanning sector is one of the most polluting within the fashion industry).

While I try to understand how to deal with leather (because, hey I am a huge soft real leather fan!) I decided to go for the most sustainable, durable, charming and affordable leather that I know: the vintage one! The quality of this leather is excellent and makes it last for many decades ahead, it does not require new production and then it has a lower environmental impact.

I am wearing here very soft 80s vintage grey leather trousers from Roby Dagger at Remira Market and two second hand pieces: red and white striped shirt from Ambroeus in Milan and Ash sneakers from VInted.

(Leather!) round bag is and old Ottod’Ame piece from their store in Florence some years ago.

How do you deal with leather?

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