I really love dressing up. I always have. You might know that I have studied fashion design!?
While I try my best to shop ethically or find secondhand treasures, my best fashion decision has been to give up leather! Yet I have not had to compromise to wear cool sneakers, nice heals or comfy & stylish sandals. I own a luxurious wallet and pretty bags.
All of which are: Vegan!
There are so many good reasons for it! It was just about aligning my actions with my beliefs.
I know, we are all so set in our ways and it's easy to overlook buying decisions that we are just to used to. Although I have been a lifelong Vegetarian and long-term vegan, I have still had leather shoes and bags in my wardrobe until last year. Many times I made an effort to buy non-leather pieces, yet I still owned quite a few. There was a time this just didn't feel right anymore and items had to be donated. I felt like a fraud walking around in these things that so clearly weren't in line with my ethics.
I don't want any animals to suffer for my vanity, in 2017 we simply don't need fur, leather, wool or other animal products to keep warm or look good. Leather has a huge negative impact on the environment, just in case you thought of it as a "natural" material. The way it is processed is highly toxic and pollutes waterways and harms the people who are producing it.
Once you do your research it becomes clear that it is the most unsustainable material and simply a bad choice.
Today I wanted to share a little interview with Debbie, founder of the Humankind online store.
She brought more beautiful, high-quality vegan brands of shoes & bags to Australia, which
You might have spotted my current favourite sneakers and oxfords already on my personal blog and Instagram, which are available at her fabulous little store.
Tell us a little about yourself!
I am a mother of 3 and originally a dietitian by profession. I have always been an animal lover - as a 10-year-old child I would gather signatures from family and friends for petitions to ban the Canadian seal hunt and the culling of kangaroos. I stopped eating meat at the age of 16 and in the last 10 years or so I have been gradually reducing my use of all animal products, including leather. It was my search for high-quality, fashionable and affordable vegan leather bags, shoes and accessories, and a desire to make these more available here in Australia, that led me to establish Humankind.
Why did you stop wearing leather?
Although I stopped eating meat many years ago, the more I read and watched and learned I realised that if I really cared deeply about animals and wanted to avoid harming them, I needed to stop wearing leather too. Many people view leather as a by-product of the meat industry, however, as animal skins, sold as leather, are very valuable, they should really be considered more a ‘co-product’ of the meat industry, which contributes to an increased demand for more animals to be raised and killed.
What are the benefits of not wearing leather?
Knowing that you are not contributing to the harming of animals.
What is the biggest difference in wearing vegan leather alternatives?
The biggest difference would be that no animals are harmed in the process of making vegan leather alternatives.
Is vegan leather better for the planet?
A lot has been written criticizing vegan leather but the truth is animal leather is terrible for the environment. This is because of the tanning process, which conditions the skins, involves the use of many toxic chemicals, which are hazardous to the environment, waterways and the workers who work in the tanneries. The alternative leather industry has developed methods to produce materials from natural products, such as pineapples and mushrooms, and is continuously evolving. I think we’re going to see a lot of new leather alternatives, that not only avoid harming animals, but also avoid harming the environment, in the next few years.
How can people find fashionable alternatives?
When I stopped wearing leather about 10 years ago it was really hard to fashionable vegan leather bags and shoes. I would carry around a grungy canvas bag and wear Converse sneakers in the winter and Havaiana thongs in the summer. Things have changed so much since then and there is a great range of products now available, especially online. Humankind is a great place to start ;-)
How did you select the brands in your store?
For me to stock something in my store I have to personally love it and have tried it out myself. I certainly had lots of fun sampling things in the early phases – all in the name of research of course! I only sell great quality products as I want customers to have a good experience with their vegan bags, shoes and accessories.
What's next for Humankind?
I intend to expand the range of vegan leather bags, shoes and accessories I stock so people who choose not to wear leather here in Australia and around the world have a great range of products to choose from. I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need to sacrifice style or quality just because you don’t wear leather and I’d like to take that message mainstream!
Do you have a vegan style muse/inspiration?
I love nature and colour and I’m drawn to a casual, earthy aesthetic.