One of the most important things for me when developing my designs is a consideration of what I use to make products, where it comes from and how materials can be cleverly utilised. As a designer that's a great responsibility. With so much "eco" hype it seems like everyone is eager to jump on the bandwagon and labelling something as such has become a way of selling products which are often not really that much less destructive to the environment. It's also made people a lot more sceptical. As I see it, I don't want any product I design to ultimately involve the suffering of any being or the environment. In particular where shoes are concerned leather is a tricky issue. Particularly in luxury, leathers often involve the uneccessary suffering of animals..(fur, exotics where snakes are skinned alive and even baby goats (kid), baby cow (calf) etc where the animals may be starved prior to slaughter to loosen the skin and so on).
No luxury product in my world could ever be a luxury to me where a sentient being has had to undergo such suffering. That doesn't mean I don't think leather should be used as a material - more the way it's created should be respected and appreciated as a product of something that was once living. Most people see it as a commodity and I think it's sad that we're so de-sensitized to it. Leather is beautiful. Once you understand how to work with it it's so addictive and is rightly the perfect material for making shoes.
I want to find a way of using leather that can also respect the creatures it came from and to do this is nigh impossible. Currently hides are traded globally following slaughter, and the majority of the world's leather comes from animals raised in developing countries where welfare standards are poor. How can you guarantee the leather you're using hasn't come from some poor animal half starved, transported thousands of miles and killed on a production line which slaughters 400 animals an hour? You can't - without the implementation of some kind of tracking system or certification. Enter Soil Association Organic. The Soil Association is the British body for Organic certification. Soil Association standards, “rigorously protect all aspects of animal well-being - from rearing, feeding and shelter, to transportation and slaughter.” So if you can buy Organic meat, why can't you buy Organic leather? Leather which guarantees the welfare of the animal as well as being of high quality: that's my mission.
Cafe and...so much more
5 years ago