This year I switched to a plant-based diet after being vegetarian for two years. You’ll also notice that I don’t yet refer to myself as vegan because whilst I eat a plant-based diet and now only use vegan and cruelty-free products, there are several areas of my life where I am still less than perfect.
I talk a lot about mindful living in this space, and whilst it’s certainly not about boxes ticked, I soon began to think a little more considerately about the rest of my life.
If you’ve been reading Daisybutter for any length of time, you’ll know that I’ve been a lifelong enthusiast of luxury leather handbags. In fact, I began my handbag collection aged 15 with a very Noughties Gucci canvas baguette bag that is still in my wardrobe! Up until a few months ago, I was fairly adamant that my handbag enthusiasm wouldn’t change.
But it has.
What I’ll be doing about my leather goods
I’m about to list about 50% of my collection (pretty much anything that isn’t in these images) to sell to secondhand stores.
I plan to donate the proceeds from these sales equally between animal rights and environmental non-profit charities that I already personally support. And I won’t be purchasing any more leather from this point on. It feels like both a monumental and inevitable step towards a more mindful lifestyle, so I thought I’d chat a little about why I’ve done so and how it’ll work going forwards.
Starting fresh and eco-leather
In June this year, I bought my first luxury vegan leather bag.
Having worked in the luxury and High Street fashion industries for almost 10 years, I would dismiss the idea of luxury vegan leather. Isn’t it glorified plastic? PU doesn’t have any luxury qualities. Luxury leather is so-called because of its craftsmanship and design. Of course even as far as 15 years back, Stella McCartney was commanding the environmentally conscious style landscape. I knew this even as I looked after the copy and content for Stella McCartney at my old job at Lane Crawford. But I wasn’t convinced. I’d push aside images of animals dying so that the bags I adored could be produced.
Enter JW Pei and FRIDAY by JW Pei, a forerunner in the luxury leather landscape. Their beautiful bags are stunningly designed and maintain a stylish balance between practicality and just looking pretty damn great with an outfit. What’s more? They’re crafted from high-tech, non-animal leather — an ultra-microfibre fabric that is five times more durable than genuine (animal) leather and isn’t PU or PVC.
I recently indulged in the adorable Envelope Crossbody Bag from FRIDAY by JW Pei and have had endless compliments on it. My friends and family know me as the handbag girl and so were shocked to learn it’s vegan! In fact, it’s made from JW Pei’s non-animal leather and certified fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. In short, it’s a slice of me in handbag form and I can’t stop wearing it.
I’ve been loathe to delve straight into purchasing pieces from brands suddenly proclaiming their non-leather items are vegan. Veganism covers broadly a way of living that doesn’t cause or support harm to animals and other living beings. Personally, I don’t believe that PVC (the most common faux leather) is ethical. It is ultimately a toxic fabric that releases chemicals slowly, and it’s not something I’ve knowingly invested in for years.
Like I already mentioned, I am going to be keeping a select few bags from my collection. It might sound jarring and controversial to do so, but trust me when I say I’ve done a lot of thinking about this. Of my collection, I’m keeping 40/50% of the bags I have. I spent several years saving for these bags and they inexplicably hold so many memories for me. They remind me of hard work, gratitude, dedication and being focused on a goal. I’ll keep them and wear them proudly, but I won’t buy any more.
We’re also not going to be bringing in any animal products to our home. No feather pillows (hotels we’ve stayed in recently have been great about this!) and certainly no leather sofas. We browsed for furniture a few weeks ago and MADE.COM were particularly great at knowing exactly which pieces were and were not vegan.
What are your thoughts on leather? It’s certainly the end of a chapter here on Daisybutter!