What about ‘ethical’ leather?
I’ve seen this word thrown around a lot recently on leather products- ‘ethical’ leather. The word ethical all depends on the consumer’s opinion, i.e., if eating or wearing animals is unethical or not? If wearing animals to you is fine, then the next stage is finding out how and where the leather is made. There are brands which use wild caught or more traditional production methods of leather from local sources. For example, leather produced in New Zealand has strict requirements on animal welfare.
So, what do I do?
Leather, like most animal products mass-produced overseas, is generally unethical and environmentally damaging. While faux leather is ethical in the way no animals are harmed, it’s also mainly made overseas, mostly in factories with no worker rights, and made from plastic-based materials and chemicals which end up in landfill. Look out for eco-friendly, ethically produced vegan leather, which over time will no doubt expand.
If you are after long-lasting animal leather – source it well and look for a fair-trade leather which is locally made and vegetable-tanned. There’s also an option to buy leather clothing second hand or vintage in op shops.
This fantastic chart by Sarah Spellings from The Cut is perfect for future decisions on leather.