Vegan Leather: An Eco-Friendly, Ethical Fashion Choice

Different items made of leather

Awareness is growing about choosing organic food and conserving the environment, but fewer people consider the impact of their clothing choices or how buying leather hurts animals, people, and the planet. There is an alternative.

The organic food market is a small but growing business as more people decide that they don’t want to eat food sprayed with pesticides, nor support farmers who farm their land intensively rather than ethically. More people are aware of animal welfare standards and want to buy meat from free-range animals or choose to forgo that hamburger altogether. Clothing, however, is rarely given a second thought. Most shoppers will go for the cheapest, off-the-shelf, mass-produced leather shoes — a distinctly ‘unfriendly’ choice.

People who buy clothes for a good cause, who buy fair-trade or cruelty-free, are helping to raise standards in the industry. You can visit sites such as to learn more. Here are the reasons you should.

Leather causes animal suffering

Cheap, ‘high street’ leather often comes from countries that have little regard for animal welfare. India, for example, may drive cattle in cramped vehicles for days without adequate water before skinning them in front of each other. To obtain Nubuck leather, one has to rip unborn calves from their mother’s wombs.

Cheap leather relies on child labor

The cruelty doesn’t end when the animal dies. After obtaining the skin, the poorest workers, including children, do the labor. It is often a child’s job to use the extremely hazardous chemicals that go into converting skin to leather.

Leather contributes to pollution

Tanning is reportedly one of the most toxic industries in the world due to its use of ammonium salts, chrome salts, various types of acid and sodium — substances that can cause cancer and respiratory problems. So many workers have suffocated while cleaning out waste tanks that there have been mass protests.

One way to take a stand against unethical fashion practices is to buy ‘vegan leather,’ a simulated kind of leather that doesn’t require animal skin. The wise shopper can also insist on shopping with fair trade companies.

Leather production can be grim but choosing to wear eco clothing saves animals and the environment.