The sharp rise in popularity of veganism has birthed a new ethical fashion revolution. Vegan fashion has been gaining momentum all around the globe. Paris has seen a 132% year-on-year increase in vegan products. In the US, that figure is 63% and the UK 43%.
Australia is no exception, with one of the fastest-growing vegan markets on the planet. One of the most popular products gaining serious attention right now is women’s vegan handbags and purses.
The growing awareness surrounding the leather industry has sparked tremendous innovation in eco-materials. Vegan leather purse brands are using anything from PU to mushroom leather and pineapple leather to create their products.
What is Vegan Leather?
Vegan leather is the broad term given to new eco-materials that mimic the look and texture of animal leather. There are many types of vegan leathers being produced under this term:
- Waxed cotton
- Recycled ocean plastic
- Pineapple leaves (Pinatex)
- Tree bark
The vegan leather industry has been boosted by fashion designers such as Stella McCartney who have helped to make vegan leather more accessible. McCartney uses various types of vegan leather for her own products.
The most common type of vegan leather being used right now is a mix of PU and recycled plastic bottles (lining). PU has been around for a long time under the name “pleather”. PU has now been adopted by the vegan industry and put under the umbrella term of vegan leather.
PU is created by coating a layer of Polyurethane onto fabric, such as cotton or polyester. PU is commonly used because it is breathable, flexible, durable, and more sustainable than other types of vegan leathers.
Vegan Leather is for Animals, People, and the Environment
The production of animal leather has several negative impacts. The most obvious being the animals that are killed for their skin. Often, the leather used is a by-product of the meat industry, but it doesn’t account for all leather.
Some animals, including cows, are purposely bred just for their skins. This is also the case for exotic animals such as snakes and crocodiles, where entire farms are created for the sole purpose of luxury leather.
People are also negatively affected. Workers in tanneries are exposed to harsh chemicals such as chromium and subjected to dangerous working conditions. Workers often develop severe diseases such as bronchitis, asthma, and even cancer.
Animal leather is one of the most polluting and wasteful industries on the planet. Some of the most polluted areas of the world are leather tanning cities such as Hazaribagh Thana in Bangladesh. The chemicals and waste from the tanneries pollute local waterways, disrupt entire ecosystems, and poison the local water supply.
Vegan handbags and vegan purses are an opportunity to move away from animal leather and the negative impacts it has on our planet. We can all have luxury leather products that feel and look great, without the need for animal suffering or infringing on human rights and causing environmental destruction in the process.
We can make a choice to buy more consciously. We can choose materials and brands that are ethical and align with our values. We can do all this while retaining our personal style and indulging our inner fashionista by choosing vegan leather.
LA ENVIRO has a selection of luxury women’s wallets made using fine vegan leather. Each one is created is 100% cruelty-free and PETA-Approved. Our vegan leather is created using PU and the lining is made with recycled plastic bottles.