Leather Lesson #1

Let's take a moment to learn about the difference between the Italian leather we use to make our accessories at F E R A L and the 'Vegan' leather handbags we've noticed more of lately. 

Did you know that we only use premium Italian tanned (and 100% European origin) leathers that are by-products of the meat industry? The reality is that there will probably always be carnivorous humans among us, so why not use every part of the animal and let nothing go to waste? We'd rather wear a real leather bag with this type of backstory than a plastic one. Real leather ages beautifully, is naturally water resistant, feels great, and is bio-degradable. 

That brings us to the vegan (plastic) being marketed today as a "cruelty free" alternative to leather. Where an animal may not have been involved in the making of the synthetic leather, the environment most likely was or will be (as it will never decompose). The truth is that there are many different materials being marketed as vegan leather and you may not be buying what you think you are. Before you assume something is eco-friendly these days, you really need to check the labels and ask questions of the brands that are marketing to you. 

For example, "PU leather" is actually a layer of split leather (from an animal) coated in polyurethane (plastic) and then embossed to look natural. This is also how patent leather is made. Either way, that's definitely not vegan. 

For the most part, 'Vegan Leather' is typically just polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU), a polymer turned into plastic fabric and touted as a green alternative to leather. Unfortunately both are a petroleum based product that is neither biodegradable nor recyclable. That's definitely not very eco-conscious. If you were thinking "good, then my beautiful vegan bag will last FOREVER", well not exactly. Petroleum based products like PU and PVC eventually degrade and become cracked, peeling, oily sheets of plastic fabric. Bummer, right?

We know you're trying to do right by mother earth, and we applaud you, because we feel the same way. We feel that sustainable design isn't a trend, but our responsibility as humans; and we think it is amazing that modern women are demanding more of the brands they support. The truth is that question of which bag is more ethical can be a complicated one.  A consumer today has an immense amount of choices available to them. If these things matter to you, then you have to ask questions and in the end - make the best decision you can with the facts you have. 

Just know that some of us are trying to hold ourselves to a higher standard and truly build an honest brand and a better bag. All leather bags aren't created equal.