Sustainable leather – we show the alternatives from animal to vegan

Leather is a durable and, above all, high-quality material for clothing, shoes, bags and furniture. Production and processing using conventional methods is, however, questionable. We show the alternatives for sustainable leather

Sustainable leather
Source & Copyright by freepik

Products made of soft leather are high quality and nice to touch. They are often considered the first choice when it comes to buying a new one Handbag or shoes goes. Sustainable leather, organic leather and vegan leather, what's behind it? As is well known, leather is a by-product or even a waste product of the food industry. Sustainable recycling of the durable material is therefore entirely possible.

However, with many products being produced in low-wage countries in our contemporary time, the purchase of conventionally-made leather products is extremely worrying in terms of animal welfare and the environment. The chemical process of tanning also releases many toxins, harming the environment and, first and foremost, the people working with it.

Cattle farming for leather production as a CO2 polluter

In addition, leather is no longer just a by-product of slaughtering meat. Meanwhile, 40 percent of the world's slaughter is used exclusively for leather production. Cattle farming is currently one of the biggest contributors to global CO2 emissions. Reasons why many people increasingly want to do without leather products. But what are the alternatives and what are the options?

sustainable leather

Sustainable leather and how it is produced

If you want to continue to have genuine leather products, you should make sure that they are produced sustainably and fairly. Of the International Association of Natural Textile Industry (IVN) has developed a strict catalog of criteria for this: For products bearing the IVN seal, the leather is produced sustainably and the production process is transparent. Or you buy leather products as a second hand and some companies even recycle leather products or leather scraps.

Vegetable tanned eco leather

Some companies no longer tan the leather chemically but rather vegetable tanned. The vegetable tanned leather mentioned is considered more ecological and does not contain any toxins. The manufacturers of the sustainable sneaker For example, brand Veja uses vegetable-tanned leather. However, one should also keep in mind that plant tanning is resource and time consuming. The tanning process also takes significantly longer, between 20 and 30 months. In addition, a lot of oak and fruit are consumed. Although this form of tanning is gentler on the environment but not quite ideal.

Vegan leather

There are now also many vegan leather alternatives that have nothing in common with synthetic leather that smells like plastic, but rather feel good, are breathable and durable. For example, materials such as pineapple or eucalyptus leaves or cork and rice are sustainable leather alternatives. There is even vegan leather made from paper. Other advantages of vegan leather: It is cheaper and easier to care for than natural leather.

Luxury brands and designers are increasingly turning to sustainable eco leather or fake leather

More and more fashion companies in the luxury sector are using sustainably produced leather or refraining entirely from animal products in their collections. Such as Stella McCartney, which consistently dispenses with animal products and uses only environmentally friendly and sustainable materials. But also traditional brands like Burberry and young fashion companies like Skiim Paris focus on sustainability and now offer accessories made from sustainable or vegan leather.

sustainable leather bag

Source & Copyright by Skiim Paris

Sustainable leather as an environmentally friendly alternative

There are definitely ways to pursue the leather trend without supporting animal cruelty or creating a bad environmental footprint. Sustainable leather allows you to stay true to your style without harming the environment.


Is there sustainable leather?

Yes, sustainable leather is obtained through manufacturing processes that minimize environmental impact. It is often based on vegetable tanned or recycled materials. The IVN seal also ensures the sustainable production of animal leather.

What is vegan leather?

Vegan leather is made from materials that do not contain any animal ingredients. It offers an environmentally friendly alternative for people who want to avoid animal products.

Is faux leather environmentally friendly?

Faux leather can be more environmentally friendly than real leather by avoiding factory farming and chemical materials. Nevertheless, artificial leather differs once again in terms of sustainability. Some types of faux leather also require chemicals and can use a lot of energy during production. When buying artificial leather, you should therefore rely on sustainable manufacturing practices and environmentally friendly materials such as pineapple or eucalyptus leaves.


Always informed about the latest lifestyle trends, architecture, design & interior, as well as current technologies around sustainability.

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