I am, for most parts, shamelessly hedonistic and let little stand between me and my pleasures. But the one moot point where I find myself rather conflicted concerns the use of leather. I don’t wear leather for fashionable reasons (or fetishistic ones either); I use leather for its unmatched quality of being able to age and evolve with time. Synthetics may last longer, but they don’t enhance anything about your experience of interacting with the stuff; it’s rather monotonous from the time they are acquired to when you finally rid yourself of them.
Leather, it weathers, and gloriously so! It takes on a sheen, a certain patina that only comes with time and taking care of your leather gear. My best shoes, bags, wallets, and watch-straps, have all always been leather-based.
Every time I am shown a video of just how cruel the process can be, how inhumane it is and how ignorant I am for not acknowledging it, I can’t but feel extremely perturbed. I have felt rising anger for the poachers and the illegal traffickers, I have hurled silent expletives at those who are cruel to the animals and yet, I have, to my own distraught amazement, never once contemplated the idea of going leather-free.
To be fair, neither have all these industries and it’s not just profits, for if luxury smells more money in any manner, it is the first to exploit it. It’s all the other reasons I mentioned above: its lasting and ageing-worthy qualities. If any other material could deliver even half as much, animal hide would have been a long-relegated relic.
Artificial leather has, so far, rarely been anything more than a cheap replacement. New advancements, however, are giving it the texture and sheen of the real McCoy. Many brands (like Softex) have made artificial breathable leather. This one even has infra-red reflecting qualities that make it a cooler leather alternative, literally! And then, certain proprietary brands are claiming to have made faux leather that can age and crease, too, just like treated animal hide.
Once this obstacle of the ageless transcends into the timeless, all cows, alligators, snakes and stingrays will have one less fear to live with. And yet, even just having the tenacity to coolly word a statement like the previous one makes me want to judge myself harshly.
For now, I continue to live in sin, depraved and debauched in some ways yet so sensually satisfied that I don’t mind contemplating an eternity in hell in the afterlife. That said, canvas has piqued interests for long and is making a cool comeback (What? Did it ever leave?). So, perhaps it’s time to give vegans a chance and go eco-friendly.
LV and Goyard are the go-to brands in the canvas space. Moynat is relatively new and, like Hermes, more about leather. I like Fauré Le Page, but their canvas isn’t as sturdy. Gucci and Burberry do some very stylish and durable canvas-leather-mix work. Try and get the less obvious and in-your-face patterns, but taste, sadly, is a matter of personal preferences. However, as long as we are all doing our bit to be less encroaching on the other species that we share our planet with, I’ll reserve any further commentary.