In the status quo, the plethora of commercial and material commodities available to consumers has emerged as a result of innovative practices, however the consequence has manifested as monumental environmental degradation. High demand for leather in the apparel market drives demand for rapidly produced, factory farmed animal products, contributing immensely to the devastating fact that 72 billion animals are slaughtered every year. While it is widely believed that leather is a byproduct of the food industry, it is actually a co-product, requiring more harsh conditions in factory farms. These conditions involve preventing animals from being exposed to sunlight throughout the entirety of their life so that their skin remains without ‘blemishes’. Another lesser known component of leather production is the large amount of toxic chemicals utilized in leather processing, such as chromium salts and tanning liquor.
Most leather products on the market today are made with leather from India or China. Both countries lack animal welfare legislation, meaning those factory farms enforce more severe abuse and hellish living conditions. Globally, factory farming looks like overcrowded, jam packed pins, huge amounts of forced fed hormone, and gruesome slaughter techniques.
A large part of our mission is to encourage conscious consumption. Given the substantial developments in alternative leathers innovative alternatives that are entering the market, we believe there is no reason to buy leather goods and those who are still doing so should reconsider the ethics of their choice. At Kaila Katherine, we believe it is important to innovate responsibly, and that’s what our cactus leather is doing. Cactus leather provides an alternative to leathers that harm both the environment and animals. Our material is sourced from a farm in Zacatecas, Mexico which doesn’t use an irrigation system but rather lets the cactus grow with the natural rain water.
If we embrace the innovation at our fingertips, we can make adjustments to improve our world, potentially even save it. Leather has been used for hundreds of years, and many people scoff at the idea of fashion without it—it’s a staple material, and it’s probably what comes to mind when you think of luxury handbags, shoes, wallets, and more. But now is the time of change—for example, we’ve seen oat milk boom in the last five years due to its efficacy as a non-dairy alternative as well as its low impact on the environment. Meanwhile, car manufacturers like Tesla have redefined the automobile and now even gas-guzzling manufacturers are working quickly to make electric versions. Why? Because they see it as the way of the future—there’s a push for it both from legislation and from consumers. We know that sustainable vegan leather alternatives are part of the future too.
As awareness increases, more and more consumers are looking for vegan leather options.