Leather is a resilient fabric created with animal skins, performing different techniques on them. The most commonly found leather is cattle hide. It is used to create several fashion goods like bags, shoes, clothes and furniture items.
The recent years have seen an aggravated growth in men’s leather pants. This could be the result of prominent celebrities seen donning men’s leather pants.
Emergence And History
Leather is one of the first discoveries made by mankind. They would hunt animals for consumption purposes and peeled off their skins for a medium of clothing. Furthermore it was used to make tents and footwear. It is apparent through the artifacts of 5000 B.C. that leather was used for these purposes. Natural means to dye leather with tree barks and leaves can be traced back to the Greeks. This remains to be an active approach even as of today.
The Romans harnessed leather for making military equipment like shields, saddles and harnesses. The rationale that went behind the pervasive use of leather has to do with its comfort and durability. Its versatility made it a perfect fit for innumerable purposes.
The onset of industrialization generated grave demand for more novice kinds of leathers. These were being recruited for belting and driving equipment. The emergence of automobiles furthered the process of leather requirements.
Evolution Of Leather
Modern technology has allowed a complete reform in finished leather goods. Their novice techniques and a keen eye for aesthetics has opened a wider array of uses.
Something that originally meant as a protection gear against weather and a means to stay protected has come a long way.
By 1925, there was an escalation in the number of employees working in this sector clearly stating its increased demand. Animals who were raised as livestock for industrial and consumption purposes are bred. Once they are packaged as meat, their skins are used to make leather products. This is a renewable process and allows for proper waste disposal. The most commonly used animals for leather making have been cows, pigs, sheep and goats.
Post world wars, a lot of gravity was placed on exports and imports. In 1963, faux leather was produced for the first time aiding polyester. Other materials used in its production were plastic.
Historic styles associated with leather included cowboy boots and a very vintage outlook. These elements are still taken into consideration.
Initially tanning leather was a vegan and pollution-free process. But chrome tanning is more effectively used now.
1) Chrome tanning, is the most effective method used. The leather has to be soaked in a chromium salt bath which is highly toxic. It is efficient and produces better quality leather. The process entails the conversion of hide into leather. This type of tanning is better used on goods like clothes.
2) Vegetable tanning , uses utmost natural ingredients for dyeing purposes and is eco-friendly. However, the finish will not be as top notch. It is used to make items like furniture.
These are the most prominently used techniques now. In progressive times, hides are being swapped for vegan leather.
Proliferation Of Vegan Leather
Even though the usage of Vegan leather is not the most flawless course of action, it still abstains from animal abuse of any kind. Chrome tanning releases bulk chemicals, which when disposed of can be lethal. They release innumerable greenhouse gases affecting our environment. Alongside, animals are treated with massive cruelty.
They are often confined in tiny spaces, abused and skinned alive. Animal organizations like People for Ethical Treatment of Animals beseech that animals should not be used in the production of any clothes or accessories.
It is cruelty free and has an impeccable texture, almost not making you miss animal leather. The vegan leather industry is worth $85 million. A multitude of designers and celebrities have now resorted to its usage, opting over animal leather.
Leather as a good is inviting a lot of hassles. Even choosing between vegan leather and animal based leather is like choosing the lesser evil. Vegan leather is made of petroleum based plastic which is far from being environmentally friendly. And, animal leather in spite of being eco- friendly results in extensive animal abuse. There are both far from perfect. But scientists are actively working on creating alternatives for plastic. These include mushrooms, kombucha and even pineapples. Hopefully the coming together of these elements with natural dyes will minimise environmental damage and produce sustainability.