Accessories Fashion Magazine

Where Does Leather Come From, Really?

By Arwa Lodhi

Have you ever wondered how your favourite pair of shoes, beloved handbag or most used belt came from? Eight-year-old Rebecca did, and when her mum couldn’t answer her questions, she made it point to find out–or at least that’s the premise of “Labels”, a new PETA videocreated by agency Catsnake.

Without showing any graphic depictions of blood, guts or animal suffering, the video leaves the viewer with a sobering message that will shock many people.

The video builds on the increasing concern that many consumers have about the ethical impact of what they buy and wear, and it imparts the message that when animals’ body parts are used to make leather items, such as belts or boots, cruelty will always be a part of the process.

So, where does leather come from, really? What most people don’t realise is that the majority of leather comes from countries such as India and China, where there are few or no rules protecting animals. What’s more, leather is often NOT just a byproduct of the meat industry, and many animals who are killed for their skin endure castration, branding, tail-docking and dehorning – all without any painkillers.

Some meat-eating people still aren’t bothered by the fact that meat comes from cows, but as PETA recently exposed, there is a thriving dog-leather industry in China, in which workers club dogs, slit their throats and peel off their skin to make fashion items that are often mislabelled as leather from sheep and exported around the world.

Fortunately, there are plenty of cruelty-free fashion options available today, including plush faux furs and high quality vegan leathers. Some of our favourite examples are below.


Fabulously furry, these kitch coats are known for their Pop-Art colours and signature strips. A favourite brand with celebs like Alexa Chung and Poppy Delevigne, too!


Stella McCartney

Stella grew up a vegan and carries this ethos throughout her whole fashion line, which includes vegan leather shoes and bags with every collection.



Matt and Nat

This brand only uses the most eco-friendly PU vegan leather they can get their hands on. The result? Bags that are Prada-level chic, but Ghandi-level kind.


For more information on cruelty-free fashion, please visit


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