PHOTO BY PR PHOTOs (Angelina Jolie in sexy black leather mini dress at Inglorious Bastards premiere) If there is one fall/winter garment Angelina Jolie knows how to work, it’s leather. In fact, aside from her lips, it’s probably the most well-known feature on her body. And there is no doubt that, for fall 2009, leather is in. Unfortunately, the material stirs up about as much controversy as some of the larger-than-life celebrities that wear it. If you’re vegan, an animal rights activist, or just plain socially-conscious, leather is a material you’ve learned to live without…until now. Eco-fashion has finally caught up to demand and there are now ethical options for leather and leather-like clothing and accessories. In this 3-part series, I’ll give you the scoop on:
1.where to find ethical leather options
2.how to avoid looking gaudy in leather (no chaps for this lady!)
3.the #1 hottest, must-have leather piece that will pull any look together
Let’s start with exploring more ethical sources for leather…
Buy oh-so-chic recycled
Every day new designers are coming out of the woodwork begging to show off their magic hands as they transform reclaimed and vintage leather gloves and apparel into glamorous accessories. Check out these fiery feathered leather earrings from AK Vintage: Photos by AK Vintage
Hit the resale shops – 80s and all
Upscale consignment stores and thrift shops often carry second hand leather jackets and accessories for a great price. Although they may be outdated, off season or sport too bold a color for your liking, you DON’T have to wear it off the rack. In part III, I’ll show you how to take these fabulous steals and turn them into the most sizzling accents in your wardrobe.
Ask family and friends
If they have any old leathers lying around in their closets or attics collecting dust, you may have found a new treasure for your wardrobe. Trust me, if it’s a decade or two beyond its prime and is still rocking some thick shoulder pads, chances are, it is not being worn and will not be missed….I have proof, because I just recently was given one myself…and I didn’t even have to ask! But if you’re really feeling uneasy about the ask, offer to pay what you would if you found it at a resale shop…or barter your babysitting or cooking skills for a night or two. Then, follow my tips in Part III of this series for what to do with it once you’ve got it.
Opt for cruelty-free, vegan materials
Just about any type of apparel, including jackets, shoes and accessories are now available in vegan brands. If you’re looking to nix genuine leather altogether, then vegan is the way to go. Having said that, please be aware that “vegan” may not always be “fair trade” (respecting people) or “chemical-free” (respecting earth). Vegan leather-like materials are often petroleum-based synthetics, which means there is a trade off. Don’t hesitate to ask the manufacturers about how they source and create their products before buying…if they are truly ethical, they’ll be delighted to respond. Ok, so where can you find vegan apparel? Google is the best place to start, but to get you off the ground, try these retailers: Moo Shoes Alternative Outfitters Matt and Nat (Pleather bags made of recycled plastic bottles…doesn’t get any greener than this!) About the Author Katherine is an eco-enthusiast and owner of Green Diva, a socially-responsible jewelry boutique that uses ethical materials exclusively; such as recycled precious metals, Fair Trade gems and pearls, organic elements and reclaimed materials.