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Vegan vs. Leather

As a premium watch brand, we often receive requests for vegan leather straps or whether we offer alternatives to leather. We're an environmentally conscious brand and we love that you are too. Instead of just answering this question up front, let's take a deeper look into vegan leather, what it takes to produce it and our reasoning behind our choice of material for our straps.

Vegan leather is marketed to the world as the ethical alternative to leather as no animals or animal products are used in the production of it. In fact, vegan leather isn't new and has been around for a while as the cheaper alternative to leather, ever heard of 'pleather'? The term vegan leather had only come to rise recently with the growth of the vegan lifestyle. The correct term for this material would be artificial leather.

Artificial leather is created to look and feel like leather, but isn't. It is made from a mix of plastics, typically polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU). In production, PVC produces harmful dioxins and uses a highly toxic chlorine. It’s not hard to see why it has been dubbed by Greenpeace as the “single most environmentally damaging type of plastic”. These harmful chemicals and by-products are disposed off in landfills as they are not biodegradable nor recyclable, unlike leather. 

Our decision to use genuine leather instead of 'vegan leather' is that the production of PVC and PU, and its release of toxic by-products is more harmful to the environment, to animals and to humans. The reality is, 'vegan leather' is far from the ideologies of the vegan lifestyle.

Yes, it's a fact that leather is a material sourced from animals which isn't the vegan way and we totally understand where they're are coming from. Animals live, breathe and feel too! But the harsh reality is that the overflowing meat industry produces leather as a by-product and we feel that it's definitely better to use it than waste it. When asked, vegans who still use leather products that were purchased before they adopted the lifestyle mentioned that throwing it out would render the animals' lives even more worthless and add to the overflow of waste produced by the western world.

Brands behind the use of 'vegan leather' are either uneducated behind the production process of 'vegan leather' or are riding on the reputation and love of the vegan lifestyle which is recently trending on social media.

To us at Hervor, we feel that our material selections is ethical and eco-sustainable as the preservation of our environment and well-being of those inhabiting it are our primary concern. Our leather straps are vegetable tanned and come from small Italian artisanal tanneries where traditional methods are used so there's no nasty chemicals used in the process.

We're constantly on the lookout for new materials and technologies that is more sustainable and eco-friendly. There is new techniques around the corner that uses vegetable oils instead of petroleum for artificial leather and we'll be keeping a keen eye on this! Additionally the advances of stem cell technology also allows to grow cow leather in a lab but it's still early days. For us, quality is pinnacle in our products and we'll offer only the best materials to you.

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