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Vegan vs. Real Leather

Vegan vs. Real Leather

Both have their problems, but which is more "sustainable"?


Hi team,

Hope you had a great week.

A big hello to Grace, Beatriz, D, Joe, Sara, Mike, Alexa and CI, Lycel, Jonti, Maer & Natalie. Thank you for joining us. It's great to have you here.

Today I wanted to touch on the real vs. faux leather debate.

These days it is increasingly difficult to spot the difference.

Earlier this week I was working with a consulting client who is launching a sustainable shoe brand. A significant part of the discussion was whether "sustainable" meant that the brand should also be vegan, or whether it would use real leather.

Whilst LUXTRA is a vegan brand through and through, I do weigh up the pros and cons of both materials on a regular basis. I am the first to admit that each has their fair share of "good" and "bad" qualities.

Nevertheless, I still come down on the side of animal-free "leather." Let me explain why.

My mother, Sheila, with Freddie (L) and Maria (C) at Farm Sanctuary, California.


It all starts with my mother.

For those of you who are new around here, let me introduce you: her name is Sheila, and that's her in the picture above, with the goats.

In 2013 she upped sticks at the chirpy young age of 55, and moved to California for 6 months. She went to volunteer at Farm Sanctuary: a forever home for animals rescued from their factory farming fate.

As a result of her journey, I began to educate myself on the realities of factory farming (which is where most leather originates) and it changed my life forever.

She is the reason why I started LUXTRA and prior to that, ETHOS, a meat-free restaurant in central London. It's my life's mission to encourage people (but never preach!) to adopt a kinder way of living.

My mother wrote in her travel blog: "There was some spare time after lunch, so I trimmed the roses in the courtyard with an audience of 10 fluffy white turkeys that jabbered all the while I worked. Very cute. They really are my favourite animals here."

Whilst vegan leather has its short comings, I cannot move beyond the fact that real animal leather involves killing beautiful, sentient beings. For this reason, a vegan product, in my mind at least, is much more in keeping with the ethos of "sustainability" than leather ever could be.

But that's just me.

What I really want to know is what you think. So please do hit reply and let me know your thoughts.


Jessica x

Founder | Plant Parent | Proud B Corper

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