You may be considering investing in an animal-skin handbag that will last longer than the bag you’re currently using. After all, those can’t-do-without items like sunblock, hand lotion, tampons, tissues and lipstick that you carry around along with your wallet and keys can really be hell on a bag made of fabric. If ethics and economics are a consideration, however, you may want to think about getting one of the many faux leather handbags that are available instead.
There used to be a time when faux leather looked exactly like that: fake and plastic. With technological advances, though, many companies now produce a material that looks and feels like the real thing. This is not only good news for cows, but for your bank manager too.
As more people are opting for a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, the demand for leather alternatives is growing as well. In addition, some types of hide, especially snakeskin, are harvested in a very inhumane way. Growing consumer awareness of where the products they buy actually come from has also made it more socially acceptable to sport artificial hide instead of the real thing.
It is not only due to ethical considerations that some people are looking for synthetic alternatives, though. In the current economic climate, it makes sense to save where possible. Artificial materials are cheaper to make and usually it is much easier to keep them clean and looking good too.
Artificial hide can be made of a variety of materials, usually plastic based. Polyurethane, PVC and acrylic are particularly popular choices. Some manufacturers also use a natural fiber, for instance cotton, and then cover it with a layer of PVC or a similar synthetic.
A drawback of synthetic hide is that it isn’t very eco-friendly. Anything with a plastic base takes years to degrade. As petrochemical products, they also depend on an industry that tends to have a very negative impact on the environment.
This longer breaking-down time can be an advantage, however. Synthetic hides can keep looking new for much longer than real hide. A bonus is that not only are they easily recycled, but they’re often made of recycled materials from the start. This helps reduce plastic waste that would otherwise end up in landfills or in the ocean.
There are more environmentally friendly materials that are karma-free yet have the appearance and texture of real hide. Cork is used to make a product called cork leather, for instance, while kelp is the main source of so-called ocean leather. Finding these products can be difficult though. They can also be prohibitively expensive.
If you do decide to go for faux leather handbags, you will find that there is an endless variety of styles and types of bag to choose from. These range from a carry-all tote to an elegant clutch. All you need is a pair of killer heels to go with it.
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