A Guide to Leather Alternatives

Leather products are usually unethically harvested where animals are often skinned alive to preserve textures and quality. The durability of leather goods have been hard to substitute, but with recent movements of awareness, companies have been making products that are even better than the leather products. 

1) Veja

Veja is a French footwear brand founded in 2005. The company focuses on ecological and fair trade conditions that work with small producers from Brazil and France. Veja uses organic cotton, rubber and recycled water bottles to make their iconic shoes. In both men and women silhouettes, you're bound to find a pair that reflects your style. The shoes take a few days to break in, but they mold to your feet for the most comfortable pair of shoes. 

2) Matt & Nat 

The name comes from Materials and Nature and was founded in 1995 in Montreal, Canada. The company focuses on finding the bond between both material and nature to make what originally started out as bags and backpacks, to now footwear, belts and everything in between. Matt & Nat finds innovative ways to remain sustainable and eco-friendly such as recycling materials such as nylon, cardboard, rubber and cork. In 2007, they launched the initiative to only use recycled plastic and bicycle tires as linings to their bags. This brand has definitely come the closest to making a bag that looks like real leather and is amazing in quality. 

3) Stella McCartney 

High-end designers are often the instigators of leather as a luxury good, however, Stella McCartney shows that luxury can be reflected from recycled products as well. Although the bags come at a high price point, hopefully, this pushes luxury designers to make the same changes to their leather goods and encourage a more eco-friendly alternative. 

Leather is considered to be the most significant economic coproducts of the meatpacking industry. Calves, sheep, lambs and more are all skinned for the use of leather goods. This practice expands to an even more significant problem where exotic animals are being skinned to create "rare" products. Alligators, ostriches, snakes and even zebras are hunted for their skins. Hopefully, through the expansion of leather alternatives such as rubber, cork and other recycled materials, we'll be able to stop millions of animals from being slaughtered each year. 

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