I created this graphic (above) which was inspired by one of Greenpeace's current campaigns. When I was in Paris recently, someone said to me, perplexed, upon finding out that my shoes are not being made from animal-leather, "but leather means quality." My shoes, instead, are constructed in sturdy, Italian-made, biodegradable synthetic leather. When I asked why "leather means quality", he didn't seem to know much else about the industry, yet this is the prevailing attitude - due largely in part to incredibly well-funded marketing campaigns that most people alive today have been consistently seeing or hearing since childhood. Please watch the video below for all the details:
Leather is the skin of an animal that is preserved so it won't decompose. The tanning process is usually incredibly dangerous to people and nature. Even before the tanning process, livestock are already the single-greatest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and some of the worst offenders when it comes to water pollution, petroleum usage, grain and drinking water usage - so even if a skin is "vegetable tanned" or tanned without chromium, it can never be eco-friendly. It is time that designers, especially sustainable and eco designers, came to terms with this. We will leather forget.