Leather is a bit of a paradox in that it has a beautiful aesthetic but comes at a cost. I’ve been a vegan for over two years now, but just recently, I learned facts that forever changed my perspective on leather goods.
China is the world’s leading producer of cheap leather, and many animals are killed every year to produce purses, gloves, belts, etc. And unfortunately, dogs make up a large amount of the slaughtered animals used to provide cheap leather.
According to the Guardian’s report on this issue:
The US banned the importation of dog and cat fur and skin, which is punishable by fines up to $10,000, as part of the Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000. But distinguishing dog and cat leather from cow, sheep and pig leather is no easy matter, making it possible for unscrupulous manufacturers to pass off leather from dogs as leather from legal animals. A report by the Congressional Research Service shows that in 2014, the US imported $8.5 billion in leather articles from China. It is unknown how much of each year’s total might be dog or cat leather.
In November 2014, an undercover investigator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia infiltrated one of the slaughterhouses where 100 to 200 dogs every day were being used to make leather. I’ll let you do the math per week, per month, per year. Every year, the global leather industry uses more than a billion animals to produce leather. No matter how you calculate it, the outcome is too high.
There is always something we can do to help. In this case, the most effective way to end this practice is to use the power we have with our money and resources.
Here are my Top 5 Vegan Leather Purse Brands that offer great quality and affordable prices.
Urban Expressions: If you like Chanel boy-bags, then you should check out Urban Expressions Sheena for only $55.
Melie Bianco: This L.A. based company offers a great selection of fashionable bags. Be sure to check them out at the end of the season for their sales. I ordered two purses from here because they had their buy one get one free promotion. You can easily find purses in the $35-$70 range, plus free shipping on orders more than $50. Just signing up for their newsletter can get you 50% off your first order.
Matt & Nat: This company offers the most variety with the types of bags they have. They are a little bit pricier with bags ranging from $70-$200. However, they also offer vegan leather shoes and belts. I’m in love with their vegan leather boots for Fall.
Urban Originals: This is another great brand that sells their bags at retailers like Nordstrom and Macy’s, making it easier to find these vegan leather purses in person.
Here are other Brands that also selling Vegan Leather Purses:
- Mod Cloth
- Free People
- Saks Off 5th
Just make sure to type in “vegan leather” in the search engines on their websites and a lot of results will come up for you.
If want a high-end bag, well there’s also an option there for you! Stella McCartney only sells vegan-leather products. So, you’ll never find any real leather, feathers, or fur at her store, which is awesome!
We all need more vegan leather in our lives. And with every dollar spent on this material, we help drive the economic push towards sustainable fashion without ending a single life.
Further Resources and Works Cited:
Kearney, Lauren. “Could Your Purse Be Made Out of Dog Skin? The Truth Behind the Dog Leather Industry.” One Green Planet, 12 Apr.
Weissman, Alanna. “Is Your Leather from China? It Might Be Made of Dog or Cat Skin.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 31
July 2016, www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jul/31/dog-cat-leather-china-us-congress-trade-peta.
“Dogs Bludgeoned and Killed in Leather Industry.” PETA Investigations, PETA, https://investigations.peta.org/china-dog-leather/.
Leather: Animals Abused And Killed for Their Skins, PETA, https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/animals-used-