Bucking this season’s leather trend

Tribes of fashion writers who sited leather as a winter 2012-13 trend could well have just hit their copy and paste buttons, as it’s neither secret nor surprise that leather has become synonymous with every year’s chilly season.

What makes this season’s leather trend stand apart for others though, are the creative and inexhaustible executions incorporated into just about every conceivable item of clothing. No longer constraint to jackets, pencil skirts and footwear, leather is being molded into dresses and an abundance of seasonal separates.

This certainly brings a chill to my spine and, no doubt, to so many other animal-lovers who have decided that their love and respect for animals includes not willingly supporting an industry that encourages us to wear the skins of cows, pigs, kangaroos and, yes unknowingly, even cats and dogs.

Faux leather ankle boots by Stella McCartney, who this week was named British Designer of the Year. She works only with faux leather!

For those not ready to contemplate the horrors of the leather industry, one only need know this; it hurts! Not only in the death of animals to this end, but in the health of workers who inhale the highly toxic, potentially carcinogenic chemicals used in making leathers ‘butter soft’ and durable.

Then there’s our environment to consider. The tanning process, essential in preventing leather from biodegrading – which would cause it to rot right off fashion-forward feet and leather trimmed bodies, involves high levels of waste of harmful pollutants, precious water reserves and hundreds of thousands tons worth of chrome shavings destined for landfills.

Knowing just this, surely makes leather loose some of its ‘must-have’ appeal?

I’ve quickly come to realise that it’s not such a big step from perceiving leather as a ‘precious textile’ to ‘perverse packaging’. This coming from a ‘discerning’ buyer and wardrobe stylist who, less than a year ago, only bought shoes that boosted the leather mark under sole! My 180-degree shift proves that, with active awareness, compassion and well-placed buying power, it’s well within our grasp to positively contribute of the world’s healing.

Celebraties including Anne Hathaway, Elizabeth Hurley and Eva Longoria are wearing Jill Milan classic, luxurious and faux leather bags.

The more consumers ready and willing to buck this season’s harming trend, simply by making this winter a leather-less buying season, the bigger and faster the healing.  It’s not as difficult as one may think. Let’s face it, fashion (not to be mistaken with style) is fickle and appeals directly to our vanity. So once we get over ourselves, and make the shift in support of gentler animal-friendly alternatives, it can become a welcomed and gratifying experience.

For me, as a world citizen, mother, personal stylist, and animal-friendly person, I see this fashion trend for what it is, unnecessary. So when next I have someone ignorantly labeling my non-leather buying as ‘extreme’, I’ll be sure to challenge their thinking by asking them to really consider this; “which is more extreme; not purchasing leather or frivolously supporting an industry that stands for such gross negligence to our planet, mankind and animals?”

It’s time to start thinking, learning and then finding comfort in our own skins!

Earlier this year American designer, John Bartlett made Fashion-Week history with the debut of the first ever eco-luxe, 100% cruelty-free menswear collection at New York’s autumn/winter 2012-13 showing.

8 thoughts on “Bucking this season’s leather trend

  1. Hi Lynette,
    Great piece! Would you have some tips where to buy faux leather shoes that are affordable? Although I love the boots, I’m afraid Stella McCartney is not quite in my price range.. do any high street shops sell this?
    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hello Floor,

      Thanks for your comment/question!

      Yes a recent visit into Stella McCartney’s store in Soho, New York was confirmation that I wouldn’t be affording her wonderful creations anytime soon.

      But hey, that’s okay because vegan shoes are plentiful, as most of the UAE/Qatar malls’ mass-market stores, such as Pull & Bear, River Island Vincci (my favourite here) and Charles and Keith have a range to select from. A periodic visit into M&S will give surprising good results, as many of their shoes are 100% man-made. It’s just a case of checking and never assuming that the pair doesn’t use leather and that each pair you pick up is in fact cruelty-free.

      I will be writing more on footwear so keep an eye open, as well as my http://www.facebook.com/veganqatar community page offering some local finds.

      1. Great, thank you! I’ll be on the look out. I’ve stopped using leather bags years ago for the same reasons as you’ve so eloquently pointed out. However I always thought leather shoes were a necessity and the only other alternative were cheap plastics which are horrible (as well as smelly!). Thanks so much for this! Love the blogs!

    1. Oh Tracy, thank you. It’s great to have comments posted here, and such encouraging ones – I will continue tickling the keyboard!

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