Vogue India reports that top fashion accessory brand Mulberry is committed to using sustainable leather for its products. Although online searches for “vegan leather” have gone up 60% year on year according to Lyst, the luxury goods maker rightly believes that genuine leather still offers a more sustainable solution than alternatives.

From fashion leather to automotive leather

As the Vogue article points out, Mulberry isn’t alone in this: “With many of these vegan alternatives still in their infancy, and often containing synthetic content, luxury fashion houses are increasingly looking at how they can produce cowhide more sustainably.”

Naturally, the lessons being learned in the fashion world about the enduring appeal and sustainable nature of leather are equally applicable to the world of automotive leather where consumers are being offered similar choices between genuine leather and synthetic alternatives.

Regenerative farming and traceability

Mulberry is pursuing several different routes to ensure its leather is as sustainable as possible. Committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2035, it encourages regenerative farming techniques which maintain healthy soil and maximise its ability to store more carbon.

It also pays close attention to traceability and transparency across its supply chain making it able to trace its hides from farm to finished product. Trusted partners such as Scottish Leather Group, for example, ensure that the source of each piece of leather can be verified. Their farms also operate with net-zero CO2 emissions which further enhances the leather sustainability story.

“In people’s minds, vegan leather is more sustainable, but in reality, it’s a lot of plastic.”

Whole lifecycle perspective

Another perspective on that story is the longevity that leather provides. Leather is not only naturally durable, ensuring many years of productive use, but Mulberry also offers a repair service to extend the life cycle of its products even further. Ultimately, any piece of leather is also biodegradable so can complete the recycling circle in the most natural way.

A question of perception

The Vogue article quotes sustainable designer Caroline Massenet (founder of SKIIM Paris, a luxury leather and suede brand): “In people’s minds, vegan leather is more sustainable, but in reality, it’s a lot of plastic.” This is the fundamental challenge facing the automotive leather industry. In terms of sustainability it really is the right product at just the right time – but consumers’ erroneous perceptions need to be changed for them to embrace it once again.

Read the full article here

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