Saturday, October 17, 2009

2nd Hand Leather: To Buy or Not To Buy?

That was the dilemma I faced today and I didn't know how to answer it.
I haven't bought any leather since turning vegan. I have a pair of leather boots that I owned pre-veganism, which I still wear, although when they are ruined they will not be replaced.
While rummaging through the treasures of a couple of op shops today, I was confronted with a pair of shoes that would be perfect with the dress and cardi I found. Unfortunately, the shoes are leather. I had an internal fight with myself. I would NEVER buy anything new (leather), but could I bring myself to buy and wear 2nd hand leather?? Was I adding to the consumer demands and the need to kill cows, skin them and produce leather products? Could I justify the purchase of 2nd hand leather as a way to reduce, reuse and recycle in a bid to reduce waste, help the environment and reduce my consumer footprint? AARRGGGHHH! I was feeling quite sick inside and riddled with guilt. After my internal struggle I still hadn't come to a convincing conclusion and I thought I would ask around (that's you guys) and maybe do a bit of research myself to find a definitive answer. In case you are wondering, I bought the shoes deciding to look into the subject further and if I decided that I did not want to be a part of the 2nd hand leather movement I could always donate them back.
So, what do you think? What is your stance here? I would love to hear everyone's opinion on this to help me make up my mind on the subject.

Anyway, I'll post the pics of what I bought (and love) tomorrow! Since the kids and I got home quite late  tonight from our shopping trip we quickly cooked up some schnitzels for dinner.

I only wish our plate looked as yummy as the one on the box. Unfortunately, that was not the case! It was just slapped between to pieces of bread! Well, it was late!

And since we have past midnight on this side of the world...65 days to go



veganf said...

I bought some used leather trimmed shoes recently for my second son. I needed something velcro and something he could get on himself (and something he liked!). I'd checked our usually places, and there was nothing left at Target in his size in the way of synthetic I bought the leather ones. I mean, he needed shoes NOW, and I couldn't spend a fortune online either. I'm not supporting the company who chose to make the leather shoes, so I feel it's a legitimate compromise. But I think about it often. Sigh.

Leslie Richman said...

I still wear leather boots I had before going vegan. I don't buy anything new leather now, but I have gotten a couple of thrift things like shoes or a belt. I think that reusing something is ok, but I am always prepared to explain that to someone who starts the "THE VEGAN'S WEARING LEATHER!!" thing.

Leslie Richman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bliss Doubt said...

I'm conflicted about leather shoes. Handbags, no problem, but the skin of my feet has reacted unkindly to synthetics, and leather is so supple and kind to feet. For the moment, I have so many shoes that I haven't had to buy any for years. When I really need new ones, maybe there will have been advances in the field of vegan shoes.

Unknown said...

i still buy second hand leather shoes for similar reasons you stated. i'd rather not buy something new if there is something that already exists that is perfectly wearable. i have a few pairs of op-shopped leather boots that i bought after going vegan because they keep my feet warm and dry without getting sweaty and itchy from cheap synthetics. I've bought a pair of shoes from vegan wares before and they were the most uncomfortable things i've ever worn. in fact they crippled my feet and i now still have problems with my toes from them. i've also tried mellissa shoes (spending a small fortune on them) only to have to sell them on shortly after because they were uncomfortable. Shoes are something you really need to get right. most of my shoes are vegan (though probably NOT sweat-shop free which is bothersome) but i'll continue wear second hand leather until i feel conclusively that i don't need to any more

Niki said...

I am still in the process of converting all my non-food items to vegan, and I have to say I'm secretly glad I already own way too many shoes and boots and jackets, many of which are leather. And luckily I don't know many people who know anything about veganism so they wouldn't even realise leather is not ok. I wouldn't buy more new leather but I do get disappointed that many of the synthetic shoes I own are in an appalling state within only months of use. All the 'leather' has peeled off on the toes and heels and I find them sweaty to wear.

I still buy synthetic shoes all the time but it is disappointing they don't last well. I would also buy 2nd hand leather.

Holly Bree said...

I am of the mindset that second hand leather shoes are better than synthetic shoes, especially those bought cheaply. When I say synthetic I mean leather look shoes, hemp or canvas ones are OK, especially when the rubber is ethically sourced, however I can't wear them to my office job. I believe that while I am a vegan, my only concern should not just be about the implications of eating meat and using animal products, but I also I have strong concerns about other types of production (of anything). Unfortunately, none of it is guilt free. Synthetics can have a very bad consequences for the environment, people and animals. I think something that is recycled, especially something that is going to continue to have a long life is a very responsible purchase.I certainly don't want to buy anything that has been made from petrochemicals or made in a sweat shop or has caused major pollution, or other environmental damage. I think second hand leather, while not perfect is a good solution.