Animal Skin still has a large part in interior design, having animal products in the home is still seen as a luxury rather than cruel and leather can almost always be found in everyday lives. Being a vegan and animal enthusiast, I want to embrace a total vegan lifestyle, not just diet. To do this I am searching for cruelty free designs and I am starting with the biggest industry: Leather.
Leather look items don’t have to come with this tag of suffering, nowadays there are so many more sustainable options that do the same job. Cows have been proven to be extremely intelligent, they develop complex relationships and they even mourn their loved ones, why cause these animals pain for style?
Whenever I get into a conversation with someone who supports leather, a lot of the time its because they’re misinformed. “But don’t they use the skin of the meat industry cows, at least its not being wasted?” is one I hear often. The truth is leather isn’t a meat byproduct, the cows bred for this are ONLY used for their skin as the leather industry is such a high profile market. People also assume that it would be done in a humane way. But in most of the leather industry, the animals are skinned alive and cut to pieces until they bleed to death. Not very humane.
A large chunk comes from India, where the cows are abused and beaten to horrific states. Because of India’s laws that say you can’t harm a cow, the animals are forced to take gruelling long journeys by train, where roughly 900 cows are crammed into a wagon that should hold 100. These poor innocent animals are put through these inhumane conditions, with no food or water. Roughly 400-500 cows die each journey.
Its not just cows that are suffering for fashion. Goats, sheep, horses, alligators, deers, kangaroos, elephants are other victims of the meat industry. But the worst contributor to this is China, they are the leader of exporting leather and annually skin 2 million cats and dogs for the industry…. Because of ‘mislabeling’, most people would not know that their leather sofa might be made from dogs rather than cows. Ironically if this was more known there would be uproar, but why is a dog any different from a cow?
One truly horrifically prized style of leather is ‘Slink’, which is the skin of an unborn baby calf.
Below is a PETA video, showing more information on the leather industry, I’ll warn you that the footage is deeply upsetting. But it’s important that we know exactly whats going on behind these power corporations, otherwise the cruelty won’t end.
If getting a leather sofa in your home comes with these cruel backstories, why wouldn’t you want a cruelty free alternative? Nowadays there are so many alternatives but the one I want to talk about is Microfibre.
This material was invented in 1970 and is made from polyester, nylon, rayon and acetates. It creates a soft durable leather that is stain resistant and affordable, whilst also looking and feeling exactly like suede leather. If this was seen as the new way in design, for your home down to your handbag, we can pave a way to a cruelty free world where animals aren’t put through abuse for no reason at all. Below is an example of the Microfibre leather made into a rustic ‘pleather’ sofa, the results are so lifelike why wouldn’t you go for this cruelty free alternative?