Leather is a taboo topic amongst those who care about the environment. Just like there are different perspectives on "sustainable food", ranging from locavores, plant-based, vegan, or organic diets, there is a range of views on leather.
Just to be clear, we are not sharing our own views, rather we are presenting popular ones that exist.
The Vegan View
Veganism, as most of us know, is about not eating any animal products, including milk, eggs, honey, etc. This usually extends to things like skin care products and apparel. And though real animal hide might not align with a vegan's beliefs, it certainly doesn't mean that they don't appreciate the quality and aesthetic that it provides. That's where vegan leather comes in. It's an artificial leather alternative made of polyurethane or alternatively, out of cork or kelp-based materials. As polyurethane is a petroleum by-product, we try to stick to the lather options which are more environmentally friendly.
We carry two vegan leather purse and wallet lines: Pixie Mood and Matt & Nat. They are both known and loved by many, and interestingly enough, not just by vegans. Everyone can appreciate the durability and style that vegan leather provides.
What leather afficionados already know is that it is a very durable material, and with proper care can last a very long time. That's why it is a great material to upcycle- meaning take it and reuse it for something else once the object has run its course. For example, old leather couches can be upcycled into upholstery on chairs, etc.
Our new supplier, Tiny Feet, actually uses upcycled leather as the sole for their little baby booties. The upper part is recycled yarn, but to give a better grip for those tiny feet, they add some leather that would otherwise be thrown out, even though it is still in good condition.
Sustainably Made Leather
Like many materials, leather has to be heavily processed before it can be used to make things like clothes, accessories, bags, or shoes. And like many materials, this can be a very taxing process on the environment, as there are many pollutants, contaminants, and resource issues associated with it. More and more companies are starting to pay attention to how their leather is made, turning to natural processes that are less destructive.
Our Froddo Prewalkers are little leather boots and shoes that are made of Ecopell leather, one of the most environmental and health compatible leathers out there. These booties are excellent quality, meaning that more than one pair of feet will be able to get use out of them, making them even more sustainable! Fans of Canadian company Minimoc, should know that the owners of the company work with leather suppliers that work with reputable tanneries with good ethical and environmental morals. When we do stock leather items, we ensure that the environment and safety are at the forefront along the entire supply chain, not just the final producer.
At Mrs. Greenway, we want to accommodate all of our customers and their views on leather. That's why we carry all kinds of sustainable leather, from upcycled, vegan, to Ecopell certified, we want to make sure that everyone can find the environmentalism that they are comfortable with and can appreciate. Remember, in the end, we are all united by the mission to protect the earth, not just for our children, but for our children's children.