The blunder of those writing and judging even without knowing anything about fashion

The blunder of those writing and judging even without knowing anything about fashion

“We are lucky that many brands no longer use fur, but less leather should be used as well”. This could be the high-level summary of the news article written by Artribune over ethical matters of the fashion industry. The news source can be very pleasant to interact with, when it discusses art in all its forms. Yet, when discussing the fashion industry, the appearance is that it really doesn’t know much with regards to the working ways of the segment, but even so it writes and judges. We will leave the prejudice contained in this article aside for now: it’s obvious it’s aimed at pleasing those wishing materials of animal origin wouldn’t be used. The real problem is created by the blunder: based on confused and often baseless assumptions, how can judgment be passed?

What does tanning do?

Writes Artribune: “The reason (or excuse) used by leather producers is that they don’t turn to livestock farmers for animals killed directly for fashion industry, but rather collect the remaining bovine meat that is to go to the food industry”. First things first, tanneries receive raw hides, not “remaining bovine meat”. Another surprising aspect is the concept that the author wants to put the circularity of the tanning segment under review, but without basing the objective on solid assumptions.

Science against “some say”

“Many animal associations – continues the article -, have highlighted more than once how leather manufacturers pressure livestock farmers to slaughter more animals so that the byproducts can be sold to the fashion industry”. Those that are aware of how the chain works know that leather is a byproduct of the meat industry, and that tanning effectively saves raw hides from going to landfills. Those that want factual data can find it: come UNIDO (UN sub-agency) recognizes leather as a “byproduct” of the livestock industry and tanning as one of the largest industries based on saving byproducts. But Artribune relies on the “some say” concept rather than looking into the facts. Moreover, it’s hard to believe that the meat industry could be influenced by tanneries: one would know if he/she kept up with current events (Argentina, to cite one of the latest instances).

Surreal intercontinental travel

Artribune also takes other missteps. When discussing exotic leather with an ever-growing animal-rights approach, it says: “When it comes to luxury brands, wealthy clients can go to livestock farms raising crocodiles or alligators to choose the animal that will be sacrificed to make a handbag”. There is no source for this, but the statement does make us wonder. It may be that there have been cases for which this has happened (how many we really can’t say). But does this look like a scalable activity? Imagine the “wealthy client” goes to one store in Paris, New York, or Milan to choose an item, then flies to Louisiana, Australia, Zambia, or other far away locations to choose a live animal and then, once the product is ready, returns to the store to pick it up. It doesn’t seem particularly doable in our opinion, and would require quite a bit of time.

Knows little and yet it judges

As we said, the piece carries some vegan prejudice. And, in fact, it ends by saying that “many alternative materials”, to leather, “are created from the leftovers of other vegetable-based materials”. The same materials have been proven by research to have lower performance but more importantly to be less sustainable than leather. The article’s closing is perhaps the most revealing: “Maybe 20 years ago one couldn’t imagine wearing alternative materials or even plastic, yet some brands transformed this recovered material into something noble”. After all, 20 years ago we wouldn’t have expected plastic to be more noble than leather. And last but not least, the statement is based on mistaken assumptions.

Photo from Shutterstock

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