Thursday, December 5, 2013

Alternatives to using Leather

There are many alternatives to using leather. Whether you are a vegan, a vegetarian or an animal activist, or just a human who is aware of the dangerous chemicals that unfortunately go into making leather…there are many alternatives to using leather. There are also many reasons to use alternatives to leather as well. The toxic chemicals used in the process of making leather not only pollute and destroy the ozone, the soil around the leather making factories, the people who make the leather become sick and cold actually die from the chemicals being used, and the animals who lose their life to make the leather are just a few reasons that we should really take into consider the whole picture with regards to leather making process.

There are several modern surrogates to leather now on the market. Rubber being one major alternative. Recycled rubber tires is a huge business. There is a company in Seattle, Washington called Alchemy Goods http://alchemygoods.com/ that I have personally used to buy my laptop bag, as well as wallet and other accessories. Their motto – “While medieval alchemists sought to turn lead into gold, we strive to turn useless stuff like blown-out inner tubes, old seatbelts and advertising banners into useful stuff like bags and wallets. Another word for this is upcycling. Recycling turns stuff into the same thing over and over again. Upcycling turns something of lesser value into something of greater value.”
I can also say that my work bag is designed and produced right here in Portland. It is made of waxed canvas and it is water resistant, which is most excellent because of all the rain we get here. I would highly recommend using waxed canvas, it ages well, and holds up fantastically.
There are some new methods on the market that I have not tried myself, but I am looking forward to trying them in the future. There is a company called Paper No. 9, http://www.paper-no9.com/#!the-story/c1jbm their motto which is very inspiring is “Paper No. 9’s unique material is inspired by kinkarakawakami, a wall covering developed by 19th century Japanese artisans to mimic gilded leather and displayed in some of the most opulent rooms of Buckingham Palace.

Free of plastics and complex polymers, our innovative textile is natural, non-toxic, and features a texture and appearance unlike any other fabric on the market.
Originally designed for use in fashion and interior design, the material can be used in a wide array of applications. We have produced custom and exclusive colors, textures, and effects for various clients with products ranging from haute couture apparel to stationary to bags and other accessories.

Paper No. 9 has been featured in publications worldwide (Vogue, WWD, Interview, InStyle, WGSN, Drapers, Surface, Pantone, Metropolis, Wallpaper*, Fast Company, and design milk), in showrooms across the globe (Material ConneXion and The Sustainable Angle), and at international textile and fashion shows.
All goods & textiles are made by hand in Brooklyn, New York, USA and are available for customization.”

Paper products are becoming more and more accessible to everyone who would like to avoid using leather. There are more and more new ways of looking at the simple things we take for granted, such as the bag we use for school or work, the less we consume leather products that are made and imported in unregulated factories overseas, the more we promote and inspire others to form to good habits. This will lead us to make our earth and environment much healthier. It will perhaps force the unregulated leather factories overseas to switch gears and move in a more positive direction. This would not only improve our plant but it would also improve the lives and welfare of animals.  Nothing but good could only come from making wise and economically intelligent decisions.
With all of the bad and increasingly incompressible information floating around about leather factories overseas, there are some wonderful alternatives. I highly recommend that we start using rubber and paper replacements, because we only have planet, and we need to protect her and all of the humans and animals that come with her.

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