Controversy in Germany: Picard promotes a “genuinely leather-free” bag, much to the fury of tanners

A well-known leather goods brand in Germany has decided to flirt with the vegan world by producing a bag in synthetic material. Unfortunately the tag that accompanies the article, sold in some of the nation’s leading department stores, bears the following message: “I’m genuinely leather-free”. And that’s not all: the description continues, boasting the fact that “the materials used are 100% compliant with REACH guidelines and therefore do not contain any “toxic ingredients” and “so Picard thus offers a precious and long-lasting contribution to the protection of people and the environment”. A communications decision that has sparked considerable controversy, with VDL, the German tanners association, addressing an incensed letter of protest to Picard, notifying the manufacturer of its “irritation”. VDL’s gripe with Picard is not so much the decision to offer a model catering for vegans, but the (“surprising”) style of communication that is clearly damaging to leather, as it suggests that “only synthetic materials can satisfy the strict regulations of REACH, while Picard ought to know very well that leather can be produced sustainably”. VDL has informed Cotance and invited Picard to change the tag. But will they?


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