The debate about real versus false raises many variables about the ecosystem, including comparing the carbon emissions produced by cattle breeding.
The fact is, plastic alternatives are often produced from fossil fuels.
When we think about what we know about leather dyeing or about the dispersion of microplastics that pollute our oceans, we discover it is not easy to find a solution that can answer everything.
Given that the livestock and agriculture industry contributes around 18% of global carbon emissions, we know that the case of leather is directly connected to the meat industry. But with still a considerable demand for the meat market and a much lower one for the hides, this means that a massive amount of leather goes directly to landfills, creating even more carbon emissions.
For this reason, 32-year-old sustainable fashion expert Alden Wicker has decided to wear real leather instead of vegan alternatives.
"The most sustainable action that can be done by fashion consumers is to buy less and buy better," he explains. "I tried to use vegan alternatives, but they wear out, break, and fall apart about a year after purchase. My leather garments live forever and are much more comfortable. "
The main problem for Alden is that vegan leather alternatives are synthetic materials that very often contain PU (polyurethanes) or PVC (polyvinyl chloride).
"There are different qualities compared to synthetic and natural materials, and especially in footwear, you need resistant materials that last a long time," he explains. "This trait of durability is also crucial for sustainability."
Options such as laboratory-made leather are still in the planning stage, and it is clear that there is still a long way to go before natural alternatives become accessible. While the meat industry is ousting the oil industry in being "the most polluting sector," it is clear that an ideal scenario for the environment would be one in which everyone halved their consumption of both meat and hides.
The Italian leather sector is one of the most critical components of the textile-fashion-clothing industry, and it has chosen the path of eco-friendly production. Increasingly stringent environmental regulations and demands for sustainability standards have adopted a sustainable production. The improvements in the purification of tanning waste have created a trend for the whole hide tanning industry.
"Where we have knowledgeable consumers, we have better working standards.
We all need to be part of the Sustainable process. We all need to be informed; so we can make a better choice."
If you want to buy a new bag or a new pair of shoes, make sure you purchase Italian leather. They are resistant, comfortable, fashion-forward, and last forever!