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August 14, 2016 2 min read

For many vegans, the benefit of a leather-free wardrobe is obvious – abstaining from leather means abstaining from animal cruelty. However, eliminating animal cruelty from your wardrobe is just one of the benefits from removing leather from your wardrobe.

The most common process used for tanning leather is the chromium method. This approach essentially pickles the hide with chromium and then drops it into a vat of tanning liquor. This is also the method that is also the most devastating to those who are involved with it.


When the tanning process is complete, the chromium containing water is simply dumped in many of the places that produce leather. Although there are ways to reclaim this chromium and lessen the effect it has on the environment, the fact is that leather tends to be produced in areas where environmental laws are less stringent. When chromium is introduced to the environment in large quantities, it can create respiratory problems, infections, infertility and birth defects, as well as a variety of cancers throughout the animal kingdom.

Leather Tanning


There’s more at risk than the environment when it comes to processing leather. Tannery workers are in danger every day, from simple falls to far more horrifying dangers, such as drowning. Despite these very real fears, one of the biggest hazards is, again, chromium. Chromium behaves as a lung irritant and carcinogen, increasing the chances for workers developing a variety of cancers and maladies, something that medical personnel have reported seeing increased incidences of in tannery workers.

Ethical, Eco Alternatives

Luckily, there are plenty of stylish alternatives for those looking to eliminate leather from their wardrobe. Check out these adorable Will's City Brogues Will's City Brogues

or these killer Chelsea Boots by Dr. Marten's

Dr. Marten's 2976 Vegan Chelsea Boot

Leather-free accessories, such as this classic this Alexander Reversible Belt by The Vegan Collection

Alexander Reversible Belt

and this gorgeous, versatile Rose Handbag by Nella BellaROSE-NU_SOHO-CLASSIC-BLACK

Next time you step out in your leather-free goods, you can feel proud that you are compassionate to animals, the earth and the people on it!

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