When it comes to talking about fashion with a conscience, one term you’ll often hear buzzing around is 'vegan leather'. But what exactly is this material that's been making waves in the modern fashion industry and how does it tie into Nōskin's unwavering commitment to intertwining ethics and aesthetics? Let’s break it down.
Vegan leather, also referred to as faux leather or synthetic leather, is a material designed to mimic the look and feel of traditional leather, but is made without using any animal products. This conscious choice opens up a world of fashion possibilities that are both cruelty-free and stylish, and offers alternatives to the animal-based materials traditionally used in the fashion industry.
There are several types of vegan leather available on the market today, each created using different materials and processes. They range from PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and PU (Polyurethane) synthetics, to more natural plant-based options like Piñatex (made from pineapple fibres) and even Apple Leather (derived from apple peels). Each of these alternatives come with their unique set of pros and cons, whether it's durability, environmental impact, or price.
So why did Nōskin choose Microfibre PU for our initial footwear range?
Well, our choice revolves around the commitment to create footwear that not only has a more ethical footprint but aligns as closely as possible with our principles of creating something that has the same durability and quality as leather. We use a specific type of Microfibre PU known as onMicro, developed in Spain, for our shoe material.
This microfibre reproduces the characteristics of natural cowhide but is washable, lightweight, and highly resistant, even against chemical agents. It is also 100% waterproof, highly breathable, and is antibacterial. The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 class I seal certifies that this fabric has passed the most stringent controls, and can be declared eco-friendly and free of agents harmful to health.
Yes, we acknowledge that Microfibre PU isn’t the greenest material on the planet. But it's essential to remember that our primary mission is to offer a vegan alternative to leather. However, being aware of the environmental footprint, we’re currently exploring other greener materials like Mirum and Apple Leather for our future ranges, but we always have to consider cost.
We believe that keeping our products accessible is key to making the most impact. So whilst we may not have the 'perfect material' used for our shoes just yet, we feel that shopping with us is a step in a more ethical direction and at a price that can help us to compete with others who don't have the same care and intentions for a more ethical fashion future.
But it's not just about the materials we use that make a shoe vegan. Our shoes are ethically handcrafted in an all-vegan factory in Brazil, where we ensure our workers are paid a living wage.
In essence, Nōskin is about more than just footwear. It's a celebration of authenticity, of individuality, and the beauty of making choices that respect both our style and the world we live in.
This is only the beginning - and we appreciate you joining us on the journey.