MEAT FREE MONDAY | Gucci's Ethical Leather11.3.13
by Emma H.Ever since I started my journey to My Own Version of Vegan and Stacy wrote about why she prefers real leather (I do too for the record) examples of when leather might be considered ethical have been constantly on my radar. Gucci is the latest fashion house to jump on the bandwagon and have teamed up with Livia Firth of Eco Age and the Green Carpet Challenge to create the world's first zero deforestation leather handbag collection featuring ethically sourced versions of its famous Jackie, Hobo and Tote bags. Made from the hide of cows raised exclusively on Rainforest Alliance deforestation free certified ranches in the Brazilian Amazon, each bag comes with a passport detailing its creation from calf to final product. Along with China, Brazil is now the world's top exporter of tanned leather with some 10% of it's hides exported to Italy where they are retanned and
rebranded as Italian leather. The Brazilian cows, with their characteristic saggy necks, have been in high demand from the luxury fashion market for years but after a 2009 Greenpeace study revealed that ranches were illegally clearing rainforest to accommodate more cattle Gucci, and many other brands, pulled Brazilian hides from their supply chain. However, the new initiative by this leading fashion house, with partners the National Wildlife Federation and Imaflora, ensures leather is sourced from ranches committed to protecting the Amazon as well as treating animals humanely. With roughly three-quarters of Amazon clearing attributed to cattle-ranching, despite the eye-watering price tag of these Gucci bags, and the fact that Gucci use python and other animal skins less ethically sourced in its production, it is vital that luxury brands, both as role models and the key growth area in the fashion industry, set an example worth following. I personally feel this is an exciting break through and one that tackles one of the many reasons I don't eat meat. For waaay more information than I could give here, have a read of Lucy Siegle's article for the Guardian here.