A Sudden Interest in Leather Alternatives
By Arti, age 19, Ontario
These days it seems like everyone wants to be green and eco-friendly. From organic fabric used for our favourite cardigans, or even a new bag that yells not plastic, fashion and "being green" has suddenly adapted to the same level. Yet there is another trend hitting today's market, and both with being green and making a fashion statement it concerns a higher moral issue - faux and vegan leather.
For me it was always faux leather. Even though price played a huge impact, the smell and somewhat of a guilt feeling struck me. I have been a vegetarian for years now, and I thought to myself, if I am not eating the animal, why should I be wearing it?
A few years back, it seemed like when I wanted to try something eco-friendly or to see if the idea of not wearing leather was promoted by popular fashion magazines or websites I was turned down. Now I feel as if there's an overflow. Countless organic denim jeans, over-the-top fake fur and skin accessories, green-friendly makeup products, and now vegan-leather boots have come my way.
But trends are just trends, right? It's as if we are in the eco-buzzed fashion stage because the fashion industry suddenly supports it. At the same time, however, consumers are finally more aware of what really goes into their product.
But being vegan-fashionable is not as easy as it sounds. I can tell myself I will go 100% vegan and faux but there are tiny, detailed facts about the leather industry that are always hidden. Animal based products can be found in glue and dyes, even if the product is not real leather. Then there is production which also affects human health.
I interviewed Kelly Twomey, who created Veganslovelava.ca which promotes the idea of vegan lifestyle and fashion. She sells a variety of vegan and leather alternative fashions and accessories she receives worldwide.
"Producing leather is also an extremely wasteful [and] environmentally harmful process that involves a lot of toxic chemicals and creates an enormous amount of pollution," Twomey said.
It's easy to say we don't want animals to be slaughtered voluntarily for our own use or tanned with chemicals to look better, but if leather can suddenly represent your class and wealth, animals don't often come into the picture.
Twomey, however, won't give up and still believes that people can change. "Fashion trends will always change, but the more people gain knowledge on the horrifying conditions of the animal industry and the environmentally damage caused by producing leather, the more people will choose for alternatives to leather."
Feel free to visit Kelly's website, www.veganslovelava.ca.
This article continues in next month's issue with my interview with Kelly Twomey.