The Leather Controversy

Saturday, July 11, 2015

I created this blog before becoming a vegan, which doesn't excuse the title "LeatherPetal"... But I did want to make it clear that, despite this, I do my best to avoid contributing to animal exploitation in the garment industry. (I have yet to come up with another catchy name sans animal product.)

I recently heard... maybe I'm late hearing about it... that Beyonce is a vegan. This is a beautiful thing when it comes to the influence her decision will have on the environment, the lesser amount of resources that might be required to produce food for everyone, the increase in welfare of animals, yada yada! The only thing is, she still wears fur & leather (which in my eyes reads as propagating those industries). I am not necessarily innocent of this of this either. I have modeled for L'Oreal, and after posting a photo related to this job, some of my followers indicated that this company tests on animals. I was ignorant of this and have now rid my cabinets of their products. This is a work in progress & nobody is perfect!


On this note, I absolutely understand that it is hard for most people to come across "vegan leather" products. Most people don't even know they exist! (Maybe pleather rings a bell at least)... But it is so important to realize how big that extra step can be in terms of respecting animal welfare. I hope this will show that there are ways around buying leather & fur products without sacrificing your sense of style.

It's true that, in one way or another, there is something that we all do in our everyday lives that directly or indirectly violates the health and happiness of animals. I totally get that unfortunate reality. I still do not think that is an excuse not to try at all. Even though no one can necessarily do it perfectly, living a life that at least tries to do the least amount of harm to those around you (animals included) is a most honorable thing.

Back to the point, sadly, some major fur and leather companies produce their products independent of the meat industries entirely, meaning, leather oftentimes is not the byproduct of a cow that was "slaughtered for meat anyway." Many times, skin from beef cattle goes to "waste" and vice versa in terms of the meat from leather and fur producing animals like lambs, calves, and rabbits, meaning even more animals need to be killed in order to produce our clothing.

So, how do you go beyond just eating vegan food and expand this into your wardrobe? First thing: just don't buy any first-hand, new leather products. If you find that it's difficult to find a style you like made of vegan leather/pleather, find a vintage/used version on Etsy, at Goodwill, or another thrift shop (even when I wasn't in NY, I managed to find cute vintage shops with used clothing).

Some ethical vegans would say you shouldn't wear leather in the first place, because then you are not promoting leather as a fashionable thing at all. This is ideal, but again, I'm trying to ease people into this...

If you would like to mix some vegan leather into your used items, I highly recommend Matt & Nat for all handbags, backpacks, wallets, etc... My bag from them is the highest quality purse I own. (Although my new favorite bag is actually a basket!) If you want pleather, you're in luck! Most shops, like nastygal, reformation, zara, etc... all have pleather and faux fur options (American Apparel has a new vegan leather section) that are cheaper than any of their real leather products. Just read the labels before you buy.

I have mentioned some articles & videos in the past that have inspired me and that many readers have suggested, but I'll mention them again. Here are a few things to read & watch to inspire a vegan, karmically positive, and beautiful lifestyle:

Videos--
"Best Speech You Will Ever Hear" by Gary Yourofsky
"Vegan Sense" Interview with Ellen Degeneres
"Earthlings" Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix
"Forks Over Knives" on Netflix

Books--
The China Study by Dr. Colin Campbell
80/10/10 Diet by Douglas Graham

Products & Product Review--
Matt & Nat
Vegan Beauty Review 
Sephora Vegan Products

7 comments :

  1. Hi Dayna,
    I love that you are trying to avoid animal cruelty and I am so happy, that I found your blog!
    I'm actually a vegan too, and love reading your blog because I find all of your posts to be so well-written and I can't help but wonder how someone can be as beautiful and intelligent as you are. Much love from Germany xx

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  2. Hi Dayna! Hope all is well. A really awesome vegan bag is the Street Level Reversible Tote that sells in Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters! Not only is it vegan but it's reversible so it's two bags in one! Amazing. PS-- I found Nicole Miller-Wong through your Instagram post and now am working with her on my blog design! Thank you so much. She's awesome!

    XO, Natalia

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  3. Thank you for writing this! I will definitely consider this the next time I'm buying a bag, or anything else in leather. The problem with pleather bags is that a lot of them are of really poor quality. When I buy a bag, I want to be able to have it for years. That's the reason I mostly buy leather. I looked up Matt & Nat, and they seem to ship to Sweden, so I might try them the next time I need something like that.

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  4. I've heard that Beyonce isn't actually vegan! She's promoting her vegan food delivery service but she has admitted to still eating meat...shady.

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  5. Thought this might be useful information:
    L'Oreal has stopped testing on animals (and also stopped delegating this task) since 2013 (http://www.loreal.com/csr-commitments/l%E2%80%99or%C3%A9al-answers/the-question-of-animal-testing). The European ban on animal testing for cosmetics has played a big role in this, as companies lose quite some customers when they can't sell their stuff in Europe (http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/cosmetics/animal-testing/index_en.htm).

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  6. Have you tried to encourage any or your friends or family to become vegan? If so, how did you go about it and what were the results?

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  7. When you buy vegan, make sure it's made out of sustainable/natural materials! I know that Matt and Nat actually uses polyurethane and recycled plastic bottles to make their products which are super harmful to the environment. Polyurethane, a synthetic chemical can cause skin irritation and asthma and recycled water bottles, when processed and shredded let off harmful chemicals and miniscule pieces of plastic that inevitably end up in the ocean! Synthetic chemicals and pollution are harmful to every living thing, not just animals. Make sure that when you buy vegan leather, it's made from natural products like pineapple fibres or coconut husk. Until those are widely available, just don't wear vegan leather.

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LEATHER PETAL

By Dayna Frazer

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