Vegans That Wear Leather: An Introduction to the Vegan Lifestyle And Leather Alternatives
Posted on June 01 2018
Before you start reading this, I would like you to stop for a minute and take a look around. What do you see? Perhaps you’re wearing a nice, swanky leather watch, a sturdy leather belt, some elegant leather covered footwear or a pretty leather purse. If you’re like we, perhaps you never paid much attention to trends and these items just happened to be in your wardrobe for their practicality and flair. However, had you taken a moment to examine these pieces or Google them like you are now (go right ahead), then you know where they come from: an animal – the skin of that animal to be exact. As you can imagine, this is not a cheery process, for the producer nor the animal. For some of you, this might be hard to swallow as it was for me in the beginning, but don’t worry, we are about to shake things up.
Some of you may have heard the word ‘vegan’ thrown around, perhaps at work or at a party where someone refused some chicken wings. Trust me, we don’t call ourselves vegans because we don’t want to have a good time – it’s because we only want to bring about good with the choices that we make, food related or otherwise. I’ll refrain from using the term veganism as most of us avert our attention at the first sound of an –ism; instead, we’ll call it the vegan lifestyle. The vegan lifestyle is not a religion nor is it some secret club – it is simply a way of life. Some people find the term plant-based to be less controversial, but that doesn’t fully depict the vegan lifestyle. Plant-based refers mostly to diet and as the name implies, a plant-based diet is one that involves food derived solely from plants and omits any animal flesh (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey. If you care to know more about the plant-based diet.
Now vegan living on the other hand encompasses more than just adhering to a diet – it seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and realistic, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. There are many ways to embrace vegan living but the one thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet. The main objective of the vegan lifestyle is the “emancipation of animals from the exploitation of man”1. In earlier societies, where the lack of food, tools and other commodities were the driving forces behind most innovations, people used whatever they had at their disposal. As this would normally include livestock, non-human animals played a vital role in carrying out daily tasks and survival altogether. However, with modern technology, we have seen many advances in various areas, from agriculture, culinary arts, textiles and so fort. So just as we invented food items, clothing and accessories, etc. when animals were essentially the main resources, vegans are simply searching for ways to survive with what we now have at our disposal, sans animal involvement.
We can hear many of you asking, “If the solutions to many of our problems have already been devised, what is all this hubbub about?” Well, it’s like I said, just as the early people were progressing in times when resources were scarce, shouldn’t we also be evolving and progressing in a time where innovative thinking is at its peak? Because the scary truth is that although we are not as undeveloped as the early societies, our resources are not as ample as they once were; if we don’t start making changes in the right direction, we could be facing a bleak future. Remember, we too are animals that will have to face the consequences brought on by our choices. Don’t you think it’s time that we start showing some compassion to the environment and ourselves?
Time to Make Some Changes
This concern, coupled with the ethical commitment of the vegan lifestyle, gave life to cruelty-free leather, one of modern days’ most innovative and sustainable resources. Now before you start getting the wrong idea – cruelty-free leather is not some flimsy, knock-off version meant to distract you from the good stuff; it is the good stuff. From fruit peels to fungal mycelium, as well as non-plant-based options in the making that opt not to harm animals, there are many alternatives to conventional leather that retain all the features you know and expect from high-quality leather. It has also been found that some faux leather performs better than animal derived leather, while leaving a smaller carbon footprint. Conventional leather is now a thing of the past – companies such as Vilma Boutique have proven that even items such as plastic and cotton can produce chic but sustainable, affordable and durable leather-esque designs. So the next time that you’re in the market for a new leather goodie, why not try out an alternative?
1. The Vegan Society. Definition of veganism. https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism. Publication date unavailable. Accessed May 29, 2018.