Fashion’s Fatal Flaw

Cattle grazed on land burned by farmers in Brazil in August 2020. Andre Penner/Associated Press

In 10+ years we have occasionally mentioned the bags we use to tote things or to package things. We occasionally notice that fashion branded handbags have not received their fair share of attention (maybe because we do not use them).

Anyway, we aim to correct that, as we point to climate and other environmental issues and potential solutions. Thanks to Whitney Bauck for this article titled Did Your Handbag Help Destroy the Rainforest? It gives us good reason to pay more attention to fashion’s footprint:

A recent report examines the links between fashion brands and Amazon deforestation.

The rainforest and the runway may seem worlds apart, but deforestation in the Amazon is partly fueled by something that’s on display in every fashion capital this month: leather. A New York Times investigation published in November established the connection between deforestation and American appetites for leather in luxury cars, but the problem goes beyond the auto industry.

Fashion’s extensive use of leather is contributing too, according to a study released late last year that looked at the connection between the leather in our wardrobes and deforestation. Most of that leather comes from cattle, and rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon is increasingly being slashed and burned to create more grazing space.

Exactly how much of the fashion industry’s leather comes from Brazil is difficult to pinpoint, but according to UN Comtrade, a trade statistics database, Brazil accounted for 19 percent of tanned leather exports globally in 2020; those exports accounted for 41 percent of China’s tanned leather imports and 36 percent of Italy’s. Both countries are production centers for the fashion world…

Read the whole story here.

2 thoughts on “Fashion’s Fatal Flaw

  1. I stopped buying leather and suede (& silk, down, fur, wool, etc) a few years before I stopped eating meat— normally it’s vice-versa. In both decisions I didn’t want to support the heinous cruelty and environmental destruction anymore. The tanning process is toxic and detrimental to the land. When it comes to fashion for me there are tons upon tons of cruelty-free options, though I have read that plastic and pleather etc wreak havoc on just as much. This is unsettling but I definitely don’t want to support animal suffering. All we can do is try to do our best and make wise, conscious choices.

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