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Vegan Leather: a Step towards a kinder future

As you're aware, many brands have a tendency to use the popular term "vegan" extensively in their marketing. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to instances of greenwashing, particularly when transparency is lacking.  At Shér & Seo, we are conscious about using the term carefully. Although we are 100% cruelty free “vegan” and PETA certified, meaning we do not use any animal products whatsoever, in any of our production or processes, we are nevertheless not claiming perfection. 

At Shér & Seo, we are dedicated to challenging the fashion industry's reliance on animal-derived materials, particularly leather. We recognise the environmental, social, and ethical concerns associated with animal hides and are committed to providing stylish and sustainable alternatives. While we acknowledge that we are not perfect, we believe that choosing vegan leather is another step in the right direction as we work to lighten our environmental impact and promote a more compassionate world.

The Impact of Animal Leather:

Animal-based leather production is a highly profitable industry that comes at a significant cost to the environment, people, and animals. Conventional leather production is resource-intensive, often involving toxic chemicals in the tanning process that pollute waterways. The workers in this industry may face hazardous conditions and exploitation. Furthermore, the demand for animal hides perpetuates the cycle of animal exploitation, resulting in the suffering and death of countless animals.

Exploring Vegan Leather Alternatives:

We are excited about the increasing availability of alternatives to animal hides in the market. Vegan leather, also known as faux leather or synthetic leather, is a term used to describe materials that mimic the look and feel of animal leather without using any animal-derived components. These alternatives offer numerous advantages, including reduced environmental impact and ethical considerations.

Different Types of Vegan Leather

1. Polyurethane (PU) Leather: PU leather is a popular vegan leather option made from a polymer base that is coated with a layer of polyurethane. It is commonly used in the fashion industry due to its durability, versatility, and ability to mimic the texture of animal leather.

2. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Leather: PVC leather, also known as vinyl leather, is another synthetic material used as a vegan leather alternative. However, it is worth noting that the production of PVC involves the use of toxic chemicals, and its environmental impact is a cause for concern.

3. Recycled and Upcycled Materials: Some vegan leather options are made from recycled materials such as plastic bottles or other post-consumer waste. These materials contribute to reducing waste and promoting a circular economy.

4. Plant-Based Leather: Innovative plant-based materials, such as those made from pineapple leaves (Piñatex®), apple skins (AppleSkin™), mushroom mycelium (MuSkin), and cactus (Desserto®), including MIRUM® offer exciting alternatives to animal leather. These materials are biodegradable and have a much lower environmental impact compared to conventional vegan leathers.

Our Commitment:

At Shér & Seo, we are committed to sourcing and utilising vegan leather materials that align with our values of cruelty-free and environmentally responsible practices. While our current collection predominantly uses synthetic vegan leathers like PU, we continuously explore and embrace new materials with reduced environmental impacts, such as biobased fabrics and innovative plant-based leathers. We are excited about the prospect of incorporating these materials into our future collections.  We are inspired by the commitment of the UN Alliance For Sustainable Fashion to change the path of fashion, reducing its negative environmental and social impacts; and turning fashion into a driver of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. By 2050, the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to sustain current lifestyles.

While vegan leather is not without its environmental challenges, such as the use of polymers and potential micro-plastic pollution, it represents a significant step forward in reducing animal exploitation and the environmental impact associated with conventional leather production. We believe that by choosing vegan leather, we can nevertheless contribute to a more compassionate and sustainable fashion industry.