The Vegan Leather Guide


Animal leather is without a doubt subject to ethical and environmental concerns. According to the United Nations, animal agriculture (which includes meat and leather harvesting) is responsible for 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have gone so far as to recognise the animal leather industry as one of the ‘top polluters’ in existence, with an extreme need of an overhaul. Even if you can’t resist a carnivorous streak in your diet, you may want to find a more environmentally friendly clothing brand to direct your money into.

This has led to a movement towards alternative leathers. The term “vegan leather” has been welcomed with open arms over the past decade, until the recent discovery that a majority of vegan leathers are made from polyurethane (PU), a synthetic plastic polymer that goes by the pithy nick name ‘pleather’. As we know the production of plastic has been detrimental to the environment and disasters such as oil spills have harmed wildlife. The good news is that leather innovation is on the up with some exciting new source materials, from cacti to wine (and some even using flower offerings from the River Ganges in India). The question is how are these produced and are they as environmentally friendly as we think, or will they ever be ready for mainstream use?

We’ve produced a Vegan Leather Guide that shares the top three categories of vegan leather, how these new materials are made and which is more ethical and sustainable both environmentally and with durability.

DOWNLOAD your digital copy.

Editor: Justina Alexandroff
Sub Editors: Piarvé Wetshi, Rosie Trethewey
Photography: Phoebe Gerrard
Design: Justina Alexandroff
©Colèchi March 2022



Justina is a Designer whose work explores the material futures of bio-materials and mycelium. She is a Goldsmiths graduate, and currently works for BIOMH and Colèchi.

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