Vegetable tanned leather is a must for the luxury bag industry. We're past the point where needlessly inflicting harm on the environment is acceptable. Ethical fashion is ever gaining momentum and yet it can't come sooner.
A central tenent of Avery Verse is the win-win and when the environment wins and you get an awesome bag, we're very happy!
The key to vegetable tanned leather's superiority is in its life cycle. This is the journey the leather goes on from raw material, to gorgeous bag, to keepsake for future generations and beyond. Over the next few posts we're going to chronicle this journey to provide a richer insight into how and why this process is a must.
The first point in that life cycle is the tanning. After the leather has been sourced humanely, the question arises as to how you should prepare it. There exists then a fork in the road for businesses with two options. The most common option fashion companies choose is chromium tanned. The trouble with this highly toxic chemical is that it leaves the leather dangerous to the end user. Dermatitis is a common problem that occurs when the chemicals on the leather come in contact with the skin.
Now, imagine buying a brand new bag that you love deeply and find that it causes skin problems... That one thought alone was proof enough that the only option is a safe tanning process like vegetable tanned leather.
The other issue with chromium tanned leather is that it's non-recyclable. This is especially true of the run-off during the tanning process. All these carcinogenic chemicals then have nowhere to go and wind up spoiling the natural environment. That one thought alone was proof enough... you get the idea.
Now, fairs fair, there is a move to improve this and make chromium tanning safer - but why try to improve a broken process when we've had a good one for millenia? The answer is money.
Chromium tanning is quicker and therefore more cost effective. The average turnaround can be one day in a chromium tanning vat versus a month in a vegetable tanning vat. Big difference to the bottom line.
But not the triple bottom line. (Boom!)
At the end of the day, if you can choose a safer alternative for people and the environment, in exchange for a little less efficiency and more cost, why wouldn't you? Soulless business is where a great deal of the world's problems start.
Chromium tanning also lends itself towards fast fashion - that idea that you follow one gimmick to the next without consideration for longevity. Someone produces cheap goods that sell like hot cakes before they get thrown out and joked over a year later.
Ethical fashion through vegetable tanned leather lends itself towards timelessness. After all, if we're going to invest more time and money into a product, why not make it last?
Now if we go back to this fork in the road and take the other route, what do we get?
Vegetable tanned leather is the process of using bark, branches and leaves to tan the leather. This produces a uniquely coloured leather with a rich, earthy smell. It's chemical free and therefore environmentally safe. It can also last a lifetime or more which makes it enormous value for money. There's no fast fashion here and therefore you can get a bag that ages with you. This is a truism of the vegetable tanned bag as it develops a patina in its colouring over time which makes it seem alive and ever changing.
Poetry aside, it's also genuinely luxurious.
Our vegetable tanned leather is sourced from Italy ensuring it meets the high standards of authenticity that a millenia old process requires. This kind of leather is also artisanal, meaning that it is favoured by those designers and manufacturers looking to create a work of art, rather than just something to hang on a mannequin.
This is then a contrast to fast fashion as the product is intended to stay relevant for every generation. This is why our slogan at Avery Verse is Timeless. Luxurious. Eco-Friendly. These three principles underpin an approach to ethical fashion and vegetable tanned leather is a core component to achieving this.
The ultimate takeaway then is that vegetable tanning is the only way to go because it's safer for everyone and produces great quality.
Once the bags are tanned they move on to the manufacturing process as the raw material is transformed into a masterpiece. We'll touch on this in our next post.
In the mean time, spread the word and tell everyone you can about vegetable tanned luxury bags. The best way to improve the fashion industry is with your dollar. Where you money goes, industry goes and if we support ethical fashion houses we'll see the rise of an ethical fashion industry.