Leather – The Slow Fashion Take: Is it Sustainable?

Is leather sustainable?

The short answer: it can be.

Many people are under the impression that in order to be environmentally and ethically conscious, you must only buy vegan fashion items. This is not the case. Human beings have been making and wearing leather for millennia. It’s a gorgeous material that can last a lifetime when taken care of properly, and while our society continues to consume meat at the rate that we do, it only makes sense to use up the by-products, right? I am a meat eater myself, so in theory this is sound reasoning, but in practice it’s a little more complicated.

Though sustainable leather definitely exists, the vast majority of leather products currently on the market are made cheaply and quickly. This unfortunately means that corners are often cut when tanning the leather, with most distributers using toxic chemicals that are not only carcinogenic but also harmful to the environment. Another thing to consider is farming practices which, if done badly, are a recipe for disaster. After all, if you wouldn’t want to eat a steak that came from a tortured animal, why would you use leather from one?

This doesn’t mean that you have to swear off leather forever. Just as there is meat from sustainably and responsibly farmed cattle, there is also sustainably sourced and tanned leather. From a slow fashion standpoint, you want this type of leather. Environmentally friendly leather that doesn’t exploit animals or humans in its lifespan. The only issue is determining where to find this disappointingly rare variety of the popular luxury material.

Here at Lux Commune, we aim to sell leather that is sustainably sourced and tanned. This means that it doesn’t come from farms that engage in cruelty or deforestation to raise their cattle. We also don’t sell leather that hasn’t been harvested as a by-product, minimising waste. When it comes to tanning, we seek out leather that is tanned using environmentally friendly methods such as vegetable-tanning, meaning that no workers are forced to work with toxic materials and there is no harmful waste created that could hurt our planet. All of our leather is handmade, high quality, and traceable right from the beginning of its journey so that you know exactly where your product has come from.

When you are looking to buy leather, consider the moral and environmental implications that your actions have. Remember, if the price seems too good to be true, that is likely for a reason. Your clothes are investments that represent who you are, so choose wisely and shop responsibly.

Click here to learn more about the Slow Fashion Movement.


Emily is the founder and senior creative of Lux Commune. She grew up in country Australia, where her family raised sheep and cattle, producing wool and beef.  Emily created Lux Commune to share her passion for high-quality design, beautiful raw materials, sustainability and world cultures.

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