First thing to consider
What is vegan leather?
"Many major vegan leather brands claim their products are made of ‘eco friendly’ PU (Polyurethane) microfibers, used because their ‘feel’ is similar to that of leather, and it can be imprinted with grains that mimic suede and natural skins. But make no mistake–there is no such thing as ‘eco friendly’ PU.
In the production of microfiber-based synthetics, textiles and polymers are often layered together and compressed several times through metal rollers, then submersed in a coagulation solution to solidify. This chemical process requires excessive levels of toxic substances like dimethylformamide, which has also been linked to cancer and birth defects, and acetic acid, high doses of which can damage skin and eyes."
"Despite these eco-horrors, many eco-warriors find vegan leather production even worse. For example, the manufacture and incineration of PVC-based synthetics produce one of the most toxic chemicals known to man: dioxins. Found in almost every single modern human’s body, dioxins promote developmental disturbances and increase cancer risks tenfold.
Since plastic-based synthetics don’t fully biodegrade, they produce micro-particles that are ingested by animals and thus enter the food chain at all levels: even Arctic polar bears have been found to have dioxins in their bloodstream. When it does break down, vegan leather releases phthalates—initially added as a softening agent—which subsequently enter the food chain and the atmosphere, causing breathing problems, breast cancers, hormonal disruptions and birth defects."
Want some more info? Check
eluxe magazine: What the heck is vegan leather
SMH: The dark side to vegan leather is far from ethical
So the question is...
Are we helping animals by choosing a bag that is not made of leather but microfiber instead?
Yes, of course we are!
But...are we helping the environment too?
The answer is...no.
And also...something very important! Are we paying for a bag that has been made by happy workers? Workers that get the right salary wages and conditions?
Sometimes we just want to make our purchase easy and feel good by knowing that we are supporting a vegan brand that cares about animals, however sometimes we just need to spend an extra minute trying to find that item that really ticks all the ethical boxes. It will be always your choice, but you need to know that it is a choice!
To help you in this search we created Velvety.
An ethical, sustainable and of course vegan store that will make your eco vegan purchases easier! At Velvety you can find a selective range of bags, backpacks, wallets and more that are handmade, ethically manufactured and sustainable.
We do not carry bags made of 100% vegan leather, we only carry bags made of cork, upcycled materials, real leaves, pineapple leather and cactus leather. We care about animals, the people and the environment
and that's why we decided to only focus on real eco-friendly bags and accessories.
Have a look at our range and get inspired by colours, materials and textures :)