Longevity and Vegan Leather

Kate Corder August 21, 2014 2
Longevity and Vegan Leather

 I have recently suffered vegan handbag heartbreak. The particular handbag, which has caused my heartbreak is a much-treasured, but not over used item purchased in 2009. On the day my heartbreak occurred I was using the handbag, while attending an important event. Somehow throughout the day the fabric of my handbag gradually began to crumble. The bag itself was expertly designed with seemingly quality fabric. The overall structure of the bag shows virtually no wear; the stitching, zips and fastenings have plenty of life left in them. The interior lining of the bag is still intact. It is only the top layer of the fabric, which is softly peeling away and crumbling in to dust.

I am of course very much for the longevity of items such as handbags, which I do not have the money to buy on a frequent basis. How to deal with the disappoint of finding out a treasured item does not have longevity one expects is a difficult situation, because writing emails to complain to designers can be fruitless. Being a long-term vegan I have no wish to damage the vegan handbag industry (and I will not be buying any dead animal skin replacement handbags), however the relativity short lifespan of this not over-used handbag needs to be noted. I am thus drawing attention to my vegan handbag demise as an ethical concern and plea for designers and companies to strive towards eco vegan leather longevity.

To some 2009 might seem way past its sell by date from the point of view of fashion and longevity, but trust me, this handbag out styled many designer bags and was a classic in good design; a credit to the designer. The only flaw is the fabric. I have vintage non-leather handbags, which are still in good condition. Some modern faux leathers are less durable than others, but from the point of view of the user, one needs to know what the lifespan of the bag will be. If the user knows at 4 years into the handbag’s existence a fabric self-destruction process is predicted to manifest, the handbag, at this stage, can have seen as so much usage the by the user the bag’s life termination date will not be so troublesome.

Some bags, belts and shoes last longer than others whether they are vegan or non-vegan. The durability of designs and craftsmanship is to be encouraged in our cultures built on constantly changing fashions. Being able to properly recycle an item so it does not become landfill fodder generating toxicity to humans, non-humans and environments should be a virtue all manufactures attempt and achieve in our toxic world. How long do we have to wait for the easy recycling of everything? Science and technology are capable of so much, and by now in this age of anthropocenic acceleration, all things whatever they are and however they are made, should be non-toxic to the planet and its occupants.

Have you experienced the deterioration of vegan faux leather products? How have you dealt with it?

2 Comments »

  1. jesse.anne.o August 22, 2014 at 2:38 pm -

    Yes, and it seems to be hit or miss within the same brand sometimes, too. Usually I just avoid buying that brand again if possible or trying to figure out if it was a particular construction or design that made it more prone to wear/splitting. I wish there was a better solution to this issue. I wish I could have a crystal ball for knowing how long bags, shoes and clothing will last.

  2. Jenn August 26, 2014 at 12:28 pm -

    I have experienced this issue as well. I stopped purchasing faux-leather bags and shoes because they just fall apart in the same way as yours did, and PVC is not exactly an environmentally-friendly product. My advice is to stay away from materials that dry and crack – opt for materials that remain flexible like nylon, cotton, canvas. I’m currently using a sporty nylon Lululemon handbag and it still looks great. Melissa makes nice vegan shoes and they are quite comfortable as long as your feet don’t get sweaty in them. My only qualm is their lack of a middle heel height. Most of their designs are either completely flat or way high. I hope the next treasured vegan bag you find lasts much longer :-)

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