Here are six leather-free and eco-conscious brands to check out this Veganuary and beyond.
The impact of leather on the environment is often overlooked, played down, or framed as a more eco-friendly option than many synthetic leather alternatives. But the farming of cattle for leather and beef is responsible for 80% of the Amazon’s deforestation, with an estimated 1.4 billion cattle raised for slaughter on Earth right now, according to the Collective Fashion Justice.
The truth is, leather is more resource intensive (water, land) than substitutes, and is not, in fact, a meat bi-product, but a subsidiary, of the meat industry. Selling skins is profitable for farmers; the leather industry is worth more than an estimated USD$128 billion.
But when choosing shoes, bags and accessories, it can be difficult to find leather-free alternatives that are stylish and great quality, and it can be hard to resist the temptation to buy leather products when leather is so ubiquitous.
So, whether you’re kicking off the new year with Veganuary and want to discover more vegan products, or you’re trying to make more compassionate and responsible fashion choices, we’ve taken the stress out of trying to find gorgeous, leather-free, and sustainable accessories.
Here are six leather-free and eco-conscious brands you'll love.
BABY TURNS BLUE
This Paris-based brand makes AppleSkin vegan leather accessories—made from apple waste— to adorn rock chicks and goth girls. Chokers, cuffs, harnesses and belts with metal hardware add a modern touch to any outfit. Why should the leather boys have all the fun?
Although the only non-independent label in this line-up, no leather-free fashion list is complete without Stella McCartney. The British designer launched her eponymous luxury fashion house in 2001and took the revolutionary stance then (and now) to never use leather, feathers, skin or fur in any of her designs, proving that it is possible to look great without animal suffering. Check out the brand's womenswear and menswear collections of fashion, accessories and shoes.
Cult vegan Aussie brand SANS BEAST has carved out a name for itself with its cool, minimalist bag and accessories designs. Their collection is made up of virgin, recycled and bio-based materials, with future collections moving to zero virgin materials.
Using premium vegan materials like cactus leather to create structured, chic signature staples with a rock’n’roll edge, Peta-approved Frida Rome designs bags for 'Bad Girls Who Do Good Things'. Their Week/End Cross body handbag can be worn three ways and deconstructs flat (handy for travelling and storage), and it includes the option of erotic story chapter woven on the inside of the bag
A luxury goth headwear and eyewear label drawing from the glamour of Hollywood’s golden age, Hood London is a slow fashion, made-to-order brand with focus on craftsmanship and sustainability. Sunglasses are handmade in Canada using 100% biodegradable cellulose acetate, and are shipped in recyclable packaging. Collections feature a collaboration with burlesque star Dita von Teese and styles named after great eccentrics like art collector Peggy Guggenheim and Marchesa Luisa Casati.
Rannka make vegan leather unisex rings, hand and wrist accessories, as well as collections of metal jewellery, and goth grunge clothing. Made from textured, glossy and matte faux leather, these stretchy vegan leather rings come in various sizes and widths and can be stacked for maximum impact.