Part 4: Cruelty-Free Brands
Scroll down for a bunch of poppin' cruelty-free brands (only for those who also don't want the planet to explode).
Ahimsha Collective | Ahimsa means from 'a' no/without + 'himsa' violence/harm in Sanskrit. Ahimsa Collective create bio-degradable, waste-free vegan-leather bags. Pinatex makes it to the frontlines of their collection, but Ahimsa questions why they would stop at the outer shell. The linings of their bags are, therefore, also made from Ecoprene, a fabric made out of recycled plastic water bottles!
Aubry Watches | Aubry watches use vegan leather to create their watch straps, which are made from polyurethane (PU), a plastic by all means, but also a kinder material to the environment than many leather alternatives. Aubry uses no animal glues or dyes and their products are nickel-free and are ROHS and REACH compliant.
Beyond Skin | Beyond Skin's synthetic leathers are made from cotton-backed PU. Although PU is made from petrochemicals, turning animal hides into leather is a much more polluting practice when you take into account how much energy it takes to bring up a cow never mind tanning its skin. Although not an ideal alternative, Beyond Skin feel that PU is the lesser of two evils. They have also recently discovered 'dinamica' faux suede, a material made from one-hundred per cent recycled PET plastics.
Bourgeois Boheme | Bourgeois Boheme use a high-quality, Italian-made cotton-backed microfiber PU called Mycro. In addition to Mycro, Bourgeois Boheme hunt for the most progressive new materials which has led them to use Italian cotton weaved with paper, cork, recycled rubber and plant-based polymers (including grains and seeds from food-free crops) in their shoe production.
Charlie Fest | Charlie Feist produces modern and minimalistic backpacks made out of recycled PET vegan leather. If you haven't read the previous post on sustainable vegan fabrics RPET is made from recycled plastic bottles that would usually end up in the landfill or the ocean. Charlie Fiest bags are ideal for urban living and work life as they create space to secure laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Distyled | Distyled are committed to sourcing the most ethical materials possible, with an emphasis on low-environmental impact and longevity for minimal discard. Organic fibres or garments are made avoiding harsh chemicals and pesticides. Distyled now have a Pinatex collection, all the materials that they use are natural and all of their hardware is nickel free!
Elvis and Kresse | In 2005 Elvis and Kresse had a chance encounter with the London Fire Brigade. When they learned that London's damaged decommissioned hoses were headed to the landfill, they mounted a rescue. For over a decade none of London's fire-hoses have gone to landfill and over one-hundred and seventy tons of material have been reclaimed.
Hood Lamb | Hood Lamb started their mission in the early nineties, as the first company to make a winter jacket out of hemp. They have since created a fashion revolution in outerwear using hemp, the earth's strongest natural fibre. Their clothes, rooted in conscious design and crafted from the highest quality organic and recycled materials, prove that there is a cruelty-free way that is also sustainable.
Maniwala | Maniwala use the innovative Piñatex, a textile made from agricultural remnants of the Philippine pineapple industry. The resulting leather alternative is not only cruelty-free but greatly benefits pineapple farmers by providing additional income as the leaf fibres used in making Piñatex traditionally had no commercial value and were discarded. In this way, a beautiful new vegan textile and a vibrant new industry for pineapple growing countries have simultaneously materialised.
Matt & Nat | Matt & Nat use PU to create their bags, which is much less harmful to the environment than PVC. In addition to being vegan, sustainable materials are sourced in design when possible including recycled nylons, cork and rubber. Additionally, all of their linings are made from one-hundred per cent recycled bottles! Approximately twenty-one plastic bottles are recycled for every bag produced. Matt & Nat strive to design timeless and durable styles to ensure that each bag get's it's deserved wear.
Nemanti | Nemanti create Italian crafted cruelty-free footwear made from traditional linen, waxed cotton and wood, as well as more innovative materials such as Alcantara with zero CO2 emissions and faux leather derived from the refuse of the production of grains in no food cultivations. In their SS18 collection also saw the use of pellemela, a faux leather obtained from apple cores discarded by agribusiness industries. Pretty sweet.
Stella McCartney | Since 2013, McCartney has been using alter-nappa to create their footwear and accessories. This breakthrough material is made from polyester and PU and has a recycled polyester backing. This reduces the amount of petroleum they use in their products. The alter-nappa coating is also made with over fifty per cent vegetable oil, a renewable, natural resource. McCartney has also switched to solvent-free polyurethanes, which are less energy and water intensive and much safer for people to work with.
Thamon | The leaf leather designed by Thamon London is a natural material created with sustainably sourced tree leaves. Due to its nature and the production process, the leaf fabric has unlimited textures, patterns and variations. Unlike genuine leather, leaf leather is cruelty-free. Furthermore, the leaves and the wood fibre are responsibly sourced, and no toxic treatments or dyes are applied.
Tokyo Bags | Tokyo Bags are committed to not using leather or any other animal-based materials in the production of our bags. They use only vegan leathers, scientifically known as PU and PVC. PU is less harmful to the environment than PVC and Tokyo Bags make it a point to use it whenever possible. Their vegan leather is coated with water-resistant coatings, which creates a material that is just as durable as animal leather.
Vaute Couture | Vaute Couture coats are made without wool, down, leather, fur, or silk, which are all traditional outerwear materials. Instead, Vaute Couture uses organic and recycled fibres, including recycled plastic bottles, pulled out of Italian rivers, and recycled cotton fibres leftover from large corporations' lines. Their new sweater line is made with machines that use one piece of yarn to create an entire sweater, leaving no waste behind.
Veja Sneakers | Veja have a collection of vegan sneakers that are made out of organic cotton, wild rubber from the Amazonian forest, PU and mesh made from plastic bottles. Three plastic bottles are used to create one pair of sneakers. This upcycling process creates a smart fabric, both breathing and waterproof. Furthermore, the lining of their sneakers is made from one-hundred per cent recycled polyester jersey.
Votch Watches | The latest material Votch are using for their watch straps is a blend of TPE, polyester and cotton. The material they use in their Classic Collection is a cotton woven microfiber with PU. All of their watches comply with ROHS and REACH and the faux leather they use has the following environmental benefits: PVC-Free; No plasticisers; Phthalate-free; No added antimicrobial chemicals; No heavy metals; Includes recycled and renewable content. Phew!
Wills Vegan Shoes & Accessories Co. | Wills Vegan Shoes use vegan leather created with bio oil sourced from organic cereal crops grown in Northern Europe. The rest of their products are created with Ecolabel certified vegan leathers and suedes made in Italy and Spain that meet Oeko Tex 100 and REACH regulations.
I hope this post has given you some places to look for sustainable leather-free alternatives. I am a big advocate for choosing the natural alternatives such as Pinatex, where possible and ditching the PU, but as you can see this is not easy when oil-based materials most closely resemble real leather. However, I admire the sustainability efforts of many of these brands and believe they are doing much more for the planet than fast fashion brands that may use leather alternatives such as PU, but do not take the environmental impact into consideration.