Many luxury brands use animal leather to make bags. Looking at a leather bag from a luxury brand, it is hard to imagine that the blemish free and fine looking material was originally the skin of an animal, and that production involved a history of terrible cruelty. But that is the harsh reality.
That leather is obtained from animals, often cows (but can also who come from many other types of animals) who have been subjected to painful procedures such as de-horning without any pain relief. Many of them are likely to have suffered throughout their lives and may not have received care when sick, and all must eventually face the stresses of slaughter.
Leather is not a byproduct from the meat industry but is actually very profitable, which may lead to more animals being killed. Anyway, bags from luxury brands are often overpriced as they carry the brand name. They are often priced in the thousands! You can easily get a high quality and stylish animal friendly handbag that is priced in the low hundreds.
In addition, there is no need to purchase bags made of animal skin when there are so many innovative alternative leathers being created that are also better for the environment. This includes leaf leather, cork leather and even leather made out of pineapple leaves (Pinatex). And there are even some surprising types of leather such as mushroom leather and apple leather that are undergoing development and being made into bags.
Leaf leather is made from tree leaves, and can be made to be just as strong and durable as conventional leather. It is more environmentally friendly than PU faux leather.
“Leaves are a beautiful organic material. As they come in unlimited shapes and forms. The reclaimed expired leaves are treated with an environmentally friendly polymer to restore and enhance the leaves’ properties for creating our leaf fashion accessories. No toxic treatments or dyes are applied. They are lightweight yet highly functional and durable.”
Brands: Thamon, Tree Tribe
Cork leather is a high quality fabric produced from thin cork shavings obtained directly from the bark of the cork oak tree. I like the look of black cork leather.
Brands: Eve Cork, Artelusa
Pineapple leaf Leather (Pinatex)
Made from the fibres of pineapple leaves, which are the waste from the pineapple harvest. Because the leaves are the by-product of an existing industry no additional land, water, fertilizers or pesticides need to be used to product them, so the raw material has a very low environmental impact compared to other textile crops. I think Pinatex has the most leather-like appearance.
Brands: Ahimsa collective
Vegan Leather (I’m assuming that they use PU)
Vegan leather, often PU is better for the environment than animal leather as it does not involve the chemical tanning process used to produce animal leather.
-Urban Originals: Have both practical and stylish designs. They often have products on sale. This may be a good place to look for a present for someone.
-Thea and Theos: Simple bag styles as well as bags with some more decorative features
-Matt and Nat: Simple & minimalist style
You can look into these types of leather or explore some of these brands if you are interested, if you need a new bag or if you are finding a gift for someone.