We are far beyond the tipping point where it is sustainable to slaughter animals for their hides and furs in the name of fashion. Now, more important, is our understanding of the pain and suffering that animals — sentient beings — feel as they are farmed, pent-up in unethically tiny cages awaiting execution just so people can think they look good.
This is not
The highly-desired — and rightfully so — qualities and characteristics of furs and leathers for fashion can now be obtained in other ways: by creating sustainable clothing. We live in a time when high-end synthetic and organic products, along with 3D printing replacements, are already available in the fashion world.
Sustainable fashion is the future — not the cruelty intrinsic to leathers and furs.
My 3D printing allows me to create innovative materials to replace 100 per cent of leather in all types of clothing and accessories. Yes, leather exists everywhere in fashion — but sustainable fashion will prevail.
The Costs of Unsustainable Fashion
There is so much death carried with us in our clothes and accessories.
Ethical living journalist Lucy Siegle explains in her article published by The Guardian, “Presently around 290m cows are killed every year from a global herd approaching 1bn. Projections tell us that in order to keep us in wallets, handbags, and shoes, the industry needs to slaughter 430m cows annually by 2025.”
However, the ethical dilemma for the use of leather goes beyond the slaughter of millions of cows and sheep.
Peta explains that “although some leather makers deceptively tout their products as ‘eco-friendly,’ turning skin into leather also requires massive amounts of energy and dangerous chemicals, including mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, and various oils, dyes, and finishes, some of them cyanide-based.”
Global Warming, One Leather Bag at a Time
The fashion industry emits as much greenhouse gas as all of Europe.
“The apparel sector is one where there’s a lot of uncertainty about what exactly the impacts are,” said Nate Aden, a senior fellow at the World Resources Institute.
“The best number we have now is about five percent of [global] greenhouse gas emissions (come from) this sector. To give you some sense of perspective, that’s about equivalent to the impact from the aviation sector, so all the planes flying in the world.”
Aden also explains that leather is particularly damning.
“Leather is responsible for a lot of methane emissions, which is a strong climate forcer. It is more potent than carbon and has a more immediate short-term impact,” Aden said.
This means that older consumers’ current desire for unsustainable clothing, such as leather, has a domino effect because those animals used for leather require enormous quantities of water and land, which must be cleared of trees — doubling down on the issue of climate change.
“In fact, in the last half-century, 70 percent of the Amazon rainforest has been cleared to make way for pastures or for growing feed crops,” reports Peta.
Bags and leather-like clothes can be produced ethically and in an innovative way. Example – 3D-printed works of Julia
Animal Parts are Offensively Unfashionable
Not only are such materials unethical in various ways — they are no longer the forerunners in quality.
The 3D printing process gives so much more back to designers, and ultimately consumers, as 3D modeling allows intricacies and design work at what would otherwise be impossible levels with traditional approaches.
Additionally, dead-animal fashion is out.
Sure, the Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett caps of the 1800s have their place in the annals of history — but having a limp bit of tail that once covered a living creature’s butt, waving back and forth behind you every step of the way, is simply ridiculous.
Even more sickening are those who choose to carry entire massacres on their shoulders. According to CEASE, it takes 100 chinchillas or as many as 60 minks to make one full-length fur coat.
The is why fur prices have been depressed for years: wearing dead animals as clothing is depressing.
“Domestic consumption of North American fur has been nearly nonexistent for decades due to changes in fashion,” explained Trapping Today, before going on to point out that trappers need to rely on less woke parts of the world, such as Russia and China.
Some people argue that such materials are part of our heritage and tradition. However, there was a short period of time during World War II when human bodies and skin were used in German fashion.
Obviously, this is an extreme example. However, you don’t see our society longing for those times of yesteryear when we adorned our homes with human’s skins in the name of fashion — unless perhaps you’re Ed Gein, the real-life serial killer who inspired the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series.
And, if Central Saint Martins graduate Tina Gorjanc’s project Pure Human (a range of leather prototypes that she theorizes could be grown from DNA extracted from hair samples of the fashion designer Alexander McQueen), doesn’t make your skin crawl, you should really take a long look in the mirror.
Projects such as Pure Human, and even those using traditional furs and leathers, are largely being rejected by Generation Z, as a carrying on from the previous generations’ aversion to them. There is no doubt that future generations will denounce such traditional materials for what they are — offensive crimes.
Final Thoughts: Sustainable Fashion Keeps Your Clothing Cruelty-free
Future sustainable clothing must be ethical. If a project does not meet this requirement, it should not be developed at all. Fashion, like science, is incredibly important, but not so important that it can be allowed to operate outside an ethical framework.
In the past, designers struggled to know where to turn for ethically sourced materials. This is no longer the case. We have developed new technology that leads to innovative fashion, trumping the old-style approach.
We need to change our thinking, to upgrade it. 3D printing sustainable clothing should not be mixed with old-style technics. It is so easy to create a world of sustainable fashion that is cruelty-free and zero-waste.
Tell us your vision on the topic of ethic and innovative fashion in the comment section below!