Why we write about leather…
There is a lot of hub-bub and controversy going on this week about Stella McCartney’s anti-leather video for PETA. Kudos, once again, to PETA for raising issues of animal cruelty and inhumane aspects of the fashion industry. Despicable things do happen with animals and fashion (many examples shown on PETA’s video, and recently fake Uggs testing positive for dog fur, etc.), but we believe that conscious consumers should be aware and examine the source, before boycotting (or worse, disposing of) all leather products. Here on Magnifeco.com, we feature products that are leather (and sometimes fur) because we believe in:
- using agriculture byproducts instead of letting them go to waste
- recycling existing leather (and fur, for that matter) to avoid waste
- sustainable farming (or hunting) and the producers who provide for their families with that income
- supporting producers who are reinvigorating artisanal (vegetable) leather tanning
In fact, our beliefs about what makes fashion ‘ethical’ is that it:
- strives to avoid waste
- returns to original/sustainable/ecological modes of production and/or
- directly supports producers with a living wage
I don’t eat meat; I haven’t for nearly 20 years. But if people are eating it (by the tonne), then something should be done with the byproduct. Like AURA QUE (first featured in on this blog in January 2009). Established in 2008 by Laura Queening, following the success of her graduate collection at the prestigious Drapers Awards, AURA QUE incorporates local Nepalese materials wherever possible, such as hand-knitted banana yarn, allo hemp, handmade brass fittings, hand-woven cloth and buffalo leather, a by-product of the Nepalese food industry. Plus- each AURA QUE design is brought to life in a Nepalese factory that employs local people, some affected by disabilities, providing an income for themselves and their families according to fair trade principles. Magnifeco!
Or companies like Swedish Hasbeens – whose products are made of ecologically-prepared natural grain leather, in small factories that have made shoes for decades. Their production methods include vegetable tanned leathers and the company is focused on being kind to people and the planet. Magnifeco!
While we encourage and applaud dialogue about ethical fashion standards, and love it when high profile designers or celebrities use their positions to heighten awareness, we don’t fully agree with Stella’s call for full leather boycott and will continue to feature eco and ethical designers who use leather (or fur) when they place people, and planet, as part of the story.
Photo: Tennessee farmer Catherine Via.