Going vegan is all the rage, either with your food or your clothing!
I had the chance to loan one of Mashu London’s amazing handbags this season and I cannot rave enough about this brand!
One thing, their design is to die for! Mashu is designed in London by Ioanna Topouzoglou and made in Greece. Inspired by architecture and Art Deco, clearly seen in the clean lines of the bag and iconic handle. My style is a bit more tailored and minimalist and their bags fit me to a Tee.
Besides an awesome look, I am gushing about Mashu because I have not been sold on vegan leather until now.
Vegan leather is kinda a buzzword at the moment, a lot of brands are changing over to vegan fur and vegan leather and reaping in the positive press. However, mostly all of these vegan materials are made from polyurethane and are doing as much harm to the environment. They are petroleum based, take a lot of energy to produce, and don’t break down.
Mashu and Ioanna have been very transparent about her materials and process, which as an eco-fashionista, really appreciate. If you don’t believe me check out her about page, she lists all her materials, including Pinatex!
I am not saying don’t buy from designers with vegan products, or just buy from Mashu, but do your research first.
Leather is a huge industry and can be cruel to the animals it slaughters to use their skin. Not only that it requires a lot, a lot, of chemicals to get it to the leather you know, love and wear. Contrary to belief the majority of leather is also not cast-offs from the meat industry.
Leather can mean cruel conditions for animals and workers alike. I say this not as quantifiable data as that will send me down a Peta google black hole. There is enough evidence to suggest that yes there are proven to be cruel fur and leather factories. There is also toxic runoff from dye factories, as chromium sulfate and salt is the preferred method to treat and dye leather. This process makes the leather supple, however, the runoff creates ecological havoc.
All of this is why vegan leather has become the next fashion go to.
Vegan leather provides an alternative from typical questionable leather practices and reduces the toxic chemicals released from the process. One of the major benefits of vegan leather is the offer it has to innovate the industry. There are different types of vegan leather, polyurethane, cork, fungi, pineapple, apples, oranges, and probably a few undiscovered options. Who would have thought, or put money, into developing leather from pineapples without vegan leather gaining popularity?
As I mentioned earlier a lot of vegan leather on the market is polyurethane and has PVC in it as well. It can take a long time for the product to break down if it ever breaks down. As it breaks down it can also release polyurethane microfibers into the ecosystem, as well as other petroleum-based toxins like dioxin are released.
There is a lot of evidence that vegan leather can be more environmentally harmful than traditional leathers. The reality is that as sustainability and environmental textiles are still relatively new and textiles are still being perfected. Maybe a PVC or polyurethane leather is not the right answer, but as can be seen with brands like Stella McCartney and Mashu you can use recycled PVC materials and experiment with new biomaterials like Pinatex and fungus!