I’m so glad I managed to coax my “Signature Style” Pals Cindy and Kim into talking leather this month 😊 as it’s a material I have worn since I was 18. My first ever leather garment (other than shoes 😉) was a pair of leather pants I bought on The Queensway in Bayswater, London back in 1984. How I wish I had them now.. they were stunning! High waist, front pleats, rollable cuff and oh so soft…my daughters would love them ! But they were sold to a recycle boutique a few years later so I could purchase a secondhand electric blue pair (another pair I wish I still owned) 😳 I don’t have a pic of those, but here’s a younger me in my black ones (below left) … proving I’ve never been shy of the camera 😂 btw, I’m happy to say I still have 3 of those bangles and the watch on my arm…and I still wear them! I can still remember where and when I got them all. Brass and Gold from the Camden Market, Ivory bangle from Hong Kong and the watch was left to me by my Grandma (who, btw, I believe is the Orb you see in so many of my IGTV’s 😉). I just love that connection to clothes and jewellery that I have. But I digress, back to leather…
Between the ages of 18-38 I owned several leather jackets and skirts. All resold 😬 But over the last 17 years, I have been more mindful and kept all the leather pieces I have purchased. Even the 2004 black leather skirt that no longer fits! My youngest daughter is keen to have this too-small for me leather skirt altered for herself, which I love since I wore it to her Christening (see above right)! In the pic below I’m wearing a coat I bought in, i think, 2004. A bit tight, but still looking good! I have, however, also owned faux leather… many pairs of shoes in my youth but only two garments … one was a pair of navy Zara pants. They looked great for a short time, but I found the colour wore away in the creases, so they made it to landfill after a season 😬 and the second, a snakeskin trench which is still with me.
So which do I feel better about owning and purchasing? Faux or Real? There is definitely a tug of war in my head when it comes to this as I don’t think the choice is simple…
Faux leather, or pleather doesn’t harm animals directly and its strong and durable. However, the production of it creates the same nasty chemicals produced in plastic 😬 it can also shed harmful micro-plastics into the environment, which we ingest and when discarded, it never breaks down! Plant based leather on the other hand, is made from agricultural waste. No animals are harmed in its production, it is made from a renewable source and it breaks down back into organic matter. Unfortunately it’s not readily available (I haven’t seen any 😳), can sometimes smell and no one yet knows about its long term durability. Real leather on the other hand is made from skins of animals. Cows, calf, lamb, and goat ☹️ Technically, they are a co-product of the meat and dairy industries, not a by-product. Traditional tanning produces toxic waste that makes it into our waterways and vegetable tanning while less toxic, still is! However, it is a natural material that degenerates into organic matter and its durable.
You decide where all that leaves you. The best thing for me to do, is wear what I have and wear it sustainably, meaning “for a very long time”. And if I do chose a new piece, perhaps i’ll look at secondhand first. And if not, at least look for ethically made and sourced real leather.
Which makes my recent sharing of the small Melbourne based leather business Raw by Raw a leather company for me. They are small, they are family based, they are true artisans, they source ethically from a company they have dealt with for years (who have ISO accreditation) and they make right here in Melbourne. No mass production. No fast fashion. Just timeless styles that are wardrobe builders. I already had a pair of their pants, an amazing casual style, that I purchased earlier this year. These are called the Frankie Jogger, they are leather at the front (lined) and a ponty fabric at the back, so they are stretchy, but mould to your shape perfectly and are very comfortable. I bought the Sapphire (a navy- the ones on the left) to replace the faux Zara pair but they are also available in black and olive. Definitely a “buy once, buy well” item, and I must say, I feel incredible in them ! So far, I have worn them in Autumn, Winter and Spring. I’m really liking the idea of trying to wear them casually, like a cotton, linen or denim pant so the outfit on the right with trainers and a tee is quite timeless!
And I was lucky enough to be able to share these gorgeous items from them on IGTV, which I worked as suits in three colour ways. The leather suit.. I actually love that idea!
And if you take another look at my jackets in the first photo, you will see I own the Adeline Jacket in Autumn Leaves (which is an olive) and the same colour in the York Culotte.
Now why not pop on over to see what Cindy and Kim have to say on leather in their SIGNATURE STYLE blog post…
Lovely reflections Sarah 😊 I used to live in Queensway in the mid-90s 😉
I didn’t know that! I always go back to this little shopping strip for nostalgic reasons when I visit. I bought my leather Filofax there on a subsequent trip from Whiteley!
Ahhh Whiteleys …. happy memories indeed! We were one street away … it was my ‘local’ 🙂 xx
LOVELY AS ALWAYS……………..LOOKING FIT AND FABULOUS!
Too kind 🙏🏻
Sarah … so glad you talked your style pals into this topic. First of all you look amazing and I loved seeing your looks on Instagram … that green is FABULOUS. I also enjoyed learning more about leather, faux and the impact of both to animals and the environment. My black leather jacket is a favorite … but you ladies have certainly inspired me to think outside the Moto when it comes to faux and real leather. xo
I really liked shopping at Whiteleys when I was in London because it was near the flat where I stayed and it was near the tube station. Sadly, the last time I was in London before Covid it was a gigantic construction site.
Yes. I saw that too. Nice to have the memories 😊
I love that Juliet! Enjoy what you love 💕