|What's Wrong With Leather?
Millions of cows, pigs, sheep, and goats are slaughtered for their skin every
year. They are castrated, branded, and dehorned and have their tails docked
without anesthetics. Then they are trucked to slaughter, bled to death, and
skinned. Leather is not simply a slaughterhouse byproduct—it’s a booming
industry. The meat industry relies on skin sales to stay in business because the
skin represents the most economically important byproduct of the meat-
packing industry, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
|If you’re shopping for alternatives to Leather...
Look under shoe tongues, on tags, and on the insides of belts and bags for
fake leather buzzwords like “manmade leather,” “all-manmade materials,”
“pleather,” and “synthetic.” No label or unsure? Ask a salesperson if it is “real”
leather. Finally, the price may clue you in. Typically, synthetic leather sells at a
fraction of the price of real leather!
|Hint: You’ll find a continually changing stock of synthetic shoes if you drop into
shoe warehouses and designer discount stores such as Off Broadway, Parade
of Shoes, DSW, and Marshalls. It is just as easy to steer clear of skins at
upscale department stores like Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, with most trendy
and high-end lines, including Chinese Laundry, Kenneth Cole, Nine West, and
Kate Spade, featuring pleather footwear and accessories.
Whether you’re trying on pleather pumps at Payless or digging through
Nordstrom’s racks for faux shearling, synthetic alternatives are easy to find and
are often clearly labeled. Forget about out-of-the-way specialty shops. From
discount department stores like Target and TJ Maxx to hip boutiques like
Diesel and Paul Frank and everything in between (think Linens’n Things, JC
Penney, even Victoria’s Secret), mainstream stores have become meccas for