What’s in Leather?

Is fake leather any good? Is it really better for the environment than animal leather? Does it even wear well? These are the questions I asked myself before purchasing this Nanushka skirt made from polyester and polyurethane. The material is as soft as butter and more beautiful than any leather I have touched in my life. But it does bring up an important debate: is vegan leather really better than animal leather?

Vegan leather imitates real leather but is created from plant products or artificial materials. For example, some vegan leather is made from apple peels, pineapple leaves and recycled plastic. With a rise in those adopting veganism and plant-based lifestyles, vegan leather has made leaps and bounds over recent years.

From a durability point of view, I suppose you can’t compare synthetic materials to animal leather. I have quite a few leather pieces from my mum that are still in perfect condition. However, like all things, it is dependant on the quality of the vegan material.

I was a bit concerned when realising that my skirt is made from plastic, albeit extremely well-made plastic. Nanushka is renowned for their high-quality and fashion-forward vegan leather garments. There garments are certainly not cheap, which was why I questioned whether it would be worth purchasing this fake leather skirt in the first place. Plastic-made clothing poses an environmental risk if it ends up in water or landfill, as it releases toxic chemicals into the environment while taking years to degrade. But after doing more research I discovered that despite the environmental issues associated with producing plastic clothing, the environmental impacts of producing animal leather is still far worse. This is due to the greenhouse gas emissions caused by animal agriculture and the substantial land use. And of course for ethical purposes, vegan leather is the preferred option.

When I found this skirt at David Jones while shopping with my mum in early May, we could not believe that it was fake leather. I tried it on and absolutely loved it. And after conducting my year free of buying fashion in 2019, I don’t fall in love so easily anymore. So after weighing up the pros and cons of plastic-based leather I decided to go for it. After all, I’m not in the business of tiring over my clothes and chucking them out to the ocean when I’m done.

Skirt: Nanushka

Top: Kookai

Shoes: Topshop

Bag: Zara

I wore the skirt with a black cropped tank and Topshop shoes with funky white block heels that I purchased years ago. Topshop used to make the best mules.

Speaking about Topshop, Topshop’s parent company Arcadia has just entered into voluntary administration. Australia’s Topshop stores closed a few years ago so we’ve been devoid of Topshop for a while. But given the declining popularity of high street retail over the last decade, Arcadia’s collapse is hardly surprising. It doesn’t help that the owner’s reputation is problematic. However, it’s extremely sad to hear that over 13,000 jobs are at risk and that a brand with such a strong heritage may disappear. I expect that we will see many brands entering into administration in the next 12 months thanks to the bleak retail landscape and economic effects of Covid.

Thanks for stopping by! x

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