Sunday, August 30, 2015

Eco-alternatives to leather jackets

Posted by Amanda Villaruel | | |
Are you looking for vegan or eco-friendly alternatives to leather jackets?

Check out my handpicked collection of faux leather and vintage jackets, but first an introduction to what makes leather jackets eco-friendly or vegan ;-)
Eco-friendly alternatives to leather jackets, by Eco in the City
"Eco-friendly alternatives to leather jackets"

First of all, what makes a leather jacket earth-friendly and vegan?

You can find three types of vegan alternatives to leather jackets:

1) Vegan leather jacket, also known as faux leather, mock leather etc.

2) Leather jacket from deadstock and/or vintage materials

3) 100% vintage or second-hand

Faux leather

Vegan leather is not made from animal leather, and therefore it is vegan.

Instead of animal leather, it is common to use synthetic fabrics that are petroleum-based. A few vegan leathers are made from cork, paper, recycled rubber and treebark leather.1 Stella McCartney as an example does not use any animal leather, furs or feathers in her collections, only vegan alternatives.

The obvious positive thing about a vegan leather jacket is that there was no dead animal involved in the manufacturing process.

If we look at the bigger picture, animal leather is simply a by-product of the meat industry. If you buy animal leather products, it can be argued with that you're also supporting the meat industry.

According to Ecouterre, creating a leather hide requires 20 times more energy than what's used to produce synthetic material. That's from start to finish. And then you have the use of chemicals to prevent decomposing of the leather, which eventually will end up in the ground water.
Eco-friendly and vegan alternatives to leather jackets
Eco-friendly and vegan alternatives to leather jackets

On the other hand, some might say that the quality of fake leather is quite lower than animal leather.

Animal leather can last many years, and from a quality perspective this might be a better option for some. I partly agree with this from previous experiences with real leather jackets. They do last for many years.

But from a cruelty-free perspective, I don't think it's worth wearing the skins of a dead animal to look good. Even if it lasts for years.

Considering that a lot of vegan leathers derive from petroleum, one should also ask oneself if choosing a vegan leather product is any better than ordinary animal leather jacket? I don't have any answers for you, I'm only trying to raise awareness. It's essentially you who makes the choice.

Read: An environmentalist choosing between the lesser of two evils. 

Leather from deadstock and/or vintage materials

The second type of leather jacket is made from deadstock (leftover fabrics from manufacturers, also called surplus materials) or vintage material.

From an eco-perspective, it's better to reuse these remaining materials and turn it into something fabulous, rather than disposing it (it'll probably just end up in the landfills).
Leather jacket from surplus leather. Photo courtesy of Reformation.
Leather jacket from surplus leather.
Photo courtesy of Reformation.

The popular brand Reformation makes leather jackets from leftover fabrics, while the Danish Pelechecoco makes jackets from vintage materials.

You can also find leather products made from already dead animals killed on the road. I'm skeptic to this, but if you're curious you can read more about it on Treehugger here.

100% vintage or second-hand

Vintage and second-hand jackets made from animal leather are not vegan, but are considered more eco-friendly than new products because you give the vintage/second-hand jacket a second chance by re-using them. And as I mentioned above, the production of new leather hide requires a lot of energy and use of chemicals.

With vintage jackets, you also get to wear something unique. The older, the more unique it becomes :-)

On the other hand, one could say that it doesn't matter if the animal leather jacket is vintage or not. An animal had to be killed to make it in the first place, and that wearing vintage/second-hand leather doesn't justify the killing. It's a matter of principle and you need to be the judge of what's most dear to you.

Check out your local thrift store or online vintage stores.

Also read: What are the differences between vintage and second-hand clothing?

The pros and cons of purchasing new clothes vs vintage and second-hand.

Vintage leather jackets at ASOS MARKETPLACE

1. Faux leather jacket  2. 90s camel tan bomber jacket  3. Black bomber jacket
1. Faux leather jacket  2. 90s camel tan bomber jacket  3. Black bomber jacket

If there's one place online you'll find cool, edgy vintage leather jackets, it's at ASOS' marketplace. You can spend several hours just browsing around, and some of them aren't darn expensive either. Here are some of the jackets I found:

1.  Faux leather jacket: £99 - unisex vintage jacket from the early 1990s.

[Editor - item is sold]. Check out other jackets at ASOS.

2.  90s camel tan leather bomber jacket: £38 - made from suede leather and it's vintage.

3. Cropped leather bomber jacket: £27 - vintage jacket from the early 1990s.

Edgy leather jackets by PELECHECOCO

Pelechecoco is a Danish brand that specializes in recycled leather products.

According to Pelechecoco, all of their products are made from 100% recycled vintage leather.
Biker leather jacket. Photo courtesy of Pelechecoco.
Biker leather jacket.
Photo courtesy of Pelechecoco.

On their website they've done a comparison between regular leather jacket production and their own production of leather jackets in terms of water and chemical usage.

Regular leather jacket: about 30,000 liters of water, and a minimum of 10 different chemicals is used to smooth the skins.

Pelechecoco leather jacket: 100 kg of water in the production of 100 jackets and they use no chemicals in the process, and of course no animals are killed in that process since it's recycled vintage leather.

You can find leather jackets for men and women in different designs, and in beautiful colors and textures.

Style: edgy, punk/rock.

Price range: € 230-335

It's possible to split the payment and they offer free shipping (except for sale orders).

Check out their leather jackets. You can also visit their shop in Copenhagen: Ravnsborggade 21.

Continue to read:
Sustainble outfit of the month - The Green Fox.

Practical guide to ethical shopping.

1 Eluxe Magazine: 7 truly eco-friendly vegan leathers.

Have your say about what you just read :)

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