When I decided to go vegan, removing the animal products from my diet was cinch, no worries, over-night cold turkey and it was done!
Sadly, the non-food items weren’t as easy, and this took me sometime – some of my preloved vintage leather/silk/wool items I decided to ‘wear out’ until they could be worn no longer, others I handed on to friends or family, and others I donated to charity.
What’s wrong with leather you ask? Ok, here’s the short version…..
- The leather industry is responsible for more than one billion animal deaths a year, and no leather is not simply a ‘by product’ of the meat industry, it is a lucrative product in it’s own right and is produced to meet consumer demand.
- ‘High End’ and ‘Luxury’ leather items are usually made from newborn (or aborted) calves, and cat and dog hides are also regularly used.
- Leather is mostly produced in third world countries without any animal (or human) welfare standards
- The chemicals used to process leather include formaldehyde, chrome, arsenic, cyanide, lead, ammonia, acids and so on, causing chemical poisoning in workers and also toxic chemical run off into the environment around processing plants
Replacing my once loved non-vegan wardrobe, with ethically made, good quality vegan alternates was pretty darn hard at the time (5 years ago) – for me there were just a handful of online stores selling these products, and most didn’t post to Australia.
Yes, you can find cheap non-leather shoes and handbags at Kmart or Target, but do you know how the person who made them is treated? and do you know what glues, and other ingredients are used in these items (many are likely to contain animal ingredients).
Fast forward to these days we have some AMAZING vegan brands to buy from, both retail in Melbourne and online from brands all over the world, selling a huge range of ‘vegan leather’ jackets, shoes, bags, accessories, and yep, pretty much everything that any stylish vegan would ever need!
A few of my personal favourites are Vegan Style (for the best shoes around), James and Co (for the most stylish vegan leather jackets you’ll ever yearn for), and for the most stunning handbags i’ve ever laid eyes (and hands) on, there’s Mechaly!
“Mechaly was born out of the wish to blend social action with the love of fashion and style. Mechaly aims to address the obstacles and challenges facing cruelty against animals, inspired by people who lead busy lives and are looking for accessories that encompass style and comfort, while fulfilling a higher cause. Mechaly brings you a collection of rock ’n’ roll and edgy vegan purses”
They are also certified vegan by Vegan.org, and PETA approved. These guys totally tick all of the cruelty free boxes!
So, you can probably imagine my excitement when this bad boy arrived in my letter box a few weeks ago!
This, the ‘Lacy Black Vegan Leather Satchel’, is by FAR the nicest handbag I have ever ever owned, including all of my pre-vegan collection. I receive so many compliments on it everyday, and i’m pretty much obsessed to the point where i’m taking it with me everywhere I go.
Yes, this bag will cost you more than that dodgy synthetic bag from Sportsgirl or Kmart (that you’ll only use for one season before its zip breaks and it gets a hole in the lining)……..but, this bag is going to be my bestie for a hundred times longer, it’s so strong – believe me i’ve packed so much into it and it’s not lost any of its shape, I can sleep easy knowing that absolutely 0 animals have been harmed in it’s making, that the people who made it are paid fairly and treated kindly, and that it’s been designed by some very talented (and stylish) french designers, oh la la!
“For people who love the look and functionality of leather but are committed to a lifestyle prohibiting the use of animal products, vegan leather is the right choice. Advancements in textile technology have resulted in materials visually indistinguishable from genuine leather. The difference between most artificial leather and vegan leather is the manufacturing process for vegan leathers excludes the use of any animal products!”
Mechaly have a huge range of bags, hats, jewelly and more, check them out immediately (and yep, they ship worldwide!)
Oh hey there! I’m Hannah, an animal-loving vegan naturopath, based in Melbourne, Australia. I’m also the founder, director, and chief ‘boxer’ here at The Vegan Box.