Fake fur is horrible on so many levels! I can't say I'm vegan because I still do the food shopping for my family and they're omnivores, but for my own use, I don't buy any animal products. It does feel totally right.
Justin-The one's on my feet (hey're LifeStride). Seriously ,lots of shoes aren't leather. If you google vegan shoes you will find a ton. Plus there are a bunch of threads on here. On one of them I give a huge list of links.
I am also struggling with this. I was slightly obsessed with purses, and almost all my purses, including school bags are made of leather. I have six different ones that all serve the same purpose! Now I'm thinking...why did I think I needed all of these? Still, and I'm sorry to say this, but one of those posts made me cringe. Please don't just throw out your leather things! I completely understand not wanting to use them anymore, but it's so wasteful to just throw these things in the garbage when they are usable. That makes me sad. It's not kind to the environment or the planet, and there are probably people out there who would love to have a used bag rather than buying a new one. I am trying to decide between giving them away, using them until they are worn out, or trying to sell them so I can have the money to buy more eco-friendly things. I think we can change our lives without creating more waste, right?
The reason I love Alicia's book is because she understands that people come from all different perspectives - some people may take one day a week as a vegan, and others will be die hard super heroes 24/7. Alicia understands that even a move in the right direction is better than nothing. As a result of Alicia's book, I might choose a fabric shoe over a leather one next time I'm out shopping or look at a handbag differently (for example, I've stopped thinking of leather as luxurious). I think the whole point is to do what you can each day to be a better person and contribute kindness to the earth.
In response to the original post, I don't plan on throwing out my leather shoes or bags, but will MINDFULLY shop for all things vegan in the future.
I wouldn't sweat the leather stuff unless it bothers you to sit on that couch.
I think this thread really captures a lot of the thoughts/concerns when living as a vegan.
I'm going thorough a bit of this dilemna at home right now. My daughter, who is now 7, has started wanting some meat and dairy. She's only 7 and to her bacon tastes so delicious that she momentarily forgets everything she knows about the nastiness of meat. My boyfriend/partner eats a ton of meat. So...suddenly I found myself buying milk and eggs and chickens oh my! But I'm very insistant on knowing the organic and ethical farm they come from. I toured the place.
I realized that it's not necessarily a bad thing. I can only control myself and I've been out of the industrialized farming world for so long that I feel disconnected and powerless in that regards. I'm voting for the rest of my house by buying local organic dairy and eggs and less-cruel organic meat. Certainly the world isn't going to become vegan overnight, but the market is rapidly changing towards sustainble and ethical farming practices. So it's ok to help that along.
Often as vegans we become all or nothing. It was a radical choice years ago and so we built up radical and absolute walls. Ones that make us feel guilty if we don't throw away an old leather couch just to have the world produce us a new one but ultimately, it does more harm to toss it and replace it before it's time. Sometimes all this rigidity takes away from the peace we sought in the first place. So I'm left pondering things like whether it's actually better to support wool from a place like Anita described than to withdraw my power from the wool market completely? And it's great to have these questions because that way, we remain open and fluid and 'thinky' for lack of a much better word.
I'm not going to throw out items I already possess that were made with animal products becuase, yes, it's wasteful but also because I can't afford to replace everything at once. I've been buying cloth purses for years but just recently started buying vegan shoes which has worked out great. I have a used car with leather seats but I'm just going to have to live with it. My watch strap broke and until I can a vegan strap I like I just won't wear a watch. It takes some time to change you whole lifestyle.
Having said that Earthlings did kick my butt about leather showing how cows are bought from poor people in India where they were treated well and then led on this horrific death march to slaughter (cows are protected in India so have to move them to be able to kill them). The monsters transporting them break their tails, beat them and rub hot pepper in their eyes when the cows are too exhausted to move. It's hearbreaking and, while I may not throw away my already used leather items, I will not buy more.
I agreed with Katie. There is no wrong answer to this. It's whatever you feel like. If your shoes make you sad get new shoes... If throwing away or donating your shoes makes you sad than keep them.
I think its important to note that even amongst almost all vegans saying don't just throw away all your leather and be wasteful, it shouldn't be inferred from this that the leather industry is not a cruel industry that is terrible for the environment, workers and cruel to animals. I look at my leather things differently now. I think some people think it is just a byproduct of the meat industry. It is in a way that makes slaughtering animals more profitable, but it also is more than that because some animals are horribly brutalised just for their leather. Earthlings shows some of the cows from India and I think vegetarian food for thought podcast gives a lot of insight into this in 'Leather not just an innocent byproduct' (Also check out 'the practical aspects of being vegan' here she talks about whether you should throw away your old shoes and stuff) . I do continue to use a few leather items (some of which I think might actually no be ecause they were so cheap...) and my down coat, but I have donated some things to like my old leather jacket and some shoes. Because if other people buy used instead of new leather I think it might help. I really don't have the money to replace all my shoes at once, but I'm always looking for really great vegan shoes and coats and handbags because I will never buy leather again.
I still have quite a bit of leather, loveseats, shoes, belts and purses. I've decided not to buy any new ones, but will use what I have until they wear out or I get new ones. If I get new ones I'll donate the leather ones. I do hope to get new furniture for our living room soon as I just don't like the leather anymore. I need to save up for a bit still.
be conscious that you are a representative for animals everywhere and that fashion is contagious - if someone sees you in say a pair of snake shoes or something and gets inspired to buy a pair, you do bear the responsibility of inspiring that promotion. If, say, you have an old leather couch at home or have leather upholstery in your car I wouldn't sweat it. Save your money on replacements for supporting your family or your favorite local market - non-edible products should be used as much as possible before you get rid of them.
Though for my reason listed above I did get rid of my leather jacket when I made the connection that I was covering myself in animal skin a long time ago (though it took me a while even after I became vegan to realize my connection to other animal products, besides food)
I just got my first vegan handbag from SusanNicole.com I love it, it has the look and is just as "classy" as some of my most expensive Coach bags. I highly reccommend it. I bought it during a BOGO sale so another bag is on the way. I am so happy to be transtioning to completely vegan lifestyle. My husband eats meat, he works out and is into body building so he feels he has to eat some meat. I don't want to change him, but health is also a concern of his. He gave up red meat and really only eats ground turkey and chicken breast once every 2 weeks or so or at dinner. He has been buying organic milk, so at least he is trying. He bought me a $350.00 bag a few years ago and the truth is I would like to sell it and purchase vegan replacements, but I don't want to hurt his feelings. I will talk to him and sell it, I just don't want to walk around with a leather bag and say I'm vegan. I will feel like I'm a walking contradiction, I'll have to do the same with my boots, but one thing at a time. =)