As a modern company, we believe we have a responsibility to not only consider the future of design but also the future of the planet. We honor our responsibility to protect the earth and its resources, and make it our goal to source only the most innovative, earth-friendly materials available for our products, which means we do not use leather, skins, fur, or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) in any of our products.
Scientists have been warning us for years that stresses on the Earth's environment - particularly climate change - are becoming increasingly dangerous. In May 2013, scientists at UC Berkeley and Stanford led a call by more than 500 of their international colleagues for more urgent action to combat these global threats, warning that “Earth is rapidly approaching a tipping point, and if nothing changes, by the time today's children reach middle age, it is extremely likely that Earth's life-support systems, critical for human prosperity and existence, will be irretrievably damaged.”
We need only turn on the news to wake up to the fact that its already begun. The devastation created by historically unprecedented hurricanes, tornados, fires, floods, heat waves, polar vortexes, and droughts has not gone unnoticed by the millions of people whose lives have been affected.
Climate scientists attribute our bizarre and destructive weather patterns to be the "greenhouse effect," caused by the overabundance of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane being released into our atmosphere. Normally, trees in the rainforest would convert those gases back into oxygen, yet they've been cut down to make pastureland for cows to graze on. In fact, cattle ranching is the primary driver of forest destruction in the Brazilian Amazon, with 79.5% of deforested land used for cattle pasture. At the same time, these cows are also belching an insane amount of methane into the atmosphere --one that surpasses any other industry, including the entire transportation sector. Overall, it is estimated that animal agriculture contributes up to 22% of the 36 billion tons of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases produced in the world each year.
Animal agriculture is not only responsible for rainforest destruction and global warming, but also for the toxic pollution in rivers and groundwater, dead zones in our ocean, and the extinction of many species of wild animals.
Furthermore, animals aren't the only ones who suffer to produce leather. Although leather-makers like to tout their products as "bio-degradable" and "eco-friendly," the process of tanning which stabilizes the collagen or protein fibers of the skin so that it can actually stop biodegrading is extremely toxic to both people and the environment. This process requires massive amounts of energy and dangerous chemicals, including mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, and various oils, dyes, and finishes, some of them cyanide-based. Groundwater near leather tanneries in developing countries has been found to contain critically high levels of lead, formaldehyde, and even cyanide, causing cancer and other fatal illnesses in nearby populations. Most leather produced in the U.S. is chrome-tanned; all wastes containing chromium are considered hazardous by the EPA.
Like you, we grew up believing that "genuine leather" was the mark of a quality product. However, in light of the challenges facing our earth caused by the industrialization of cattle ranching and leather production, leather has instead become the hallmark of global destruction and devastation.
We take extreme care in sourcing the most earth-friendly, people-friendly and animal-friendly materials we can find. Most people are surprised to learn that our “vegan leathers” actually cost more to buy than most animal hides. Although it can still be quite a challenge to find quality materials with eco-friendly certification that also wear well and look beautiful, we believe it is worth the time, effort and money spent.
- Our vegan leathers are made from polyurethane, an eco-friendly alternative to the more common and less expensive material known as “PVC.” In addition, they are Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified, which means they are free from organic solvents, odors and environmental toxins such as formaldehyde, pesticides, phenols, chlorine, heavy metals, carcinogenic and allergy-inducing dyes common in many synthetic leathers.
- Our Ultrasuede bags are made from a high-performance textile responsibly engineered with recycled polyester fibers. Using a pure recycling process free from organic solvents, the result is a textile of highest quality and purity, comparable to virgin polyester.
- Most of our belt bags are lined with soft, plum-colored, 100% certified organic cotton twill. This cotton is responsibly grown without herbicides or pesticides and dyed with earth-friendly, certified dyes. The others are lined with the same microsuede described above.
- Most of our hardware is made from Low Lead Brass under 100ppm. Our chains are copper-clad aluminum (which makes them stronger than aluminum yet lighter than steel) and are lead/heavy metal/nickel and corrosion free.
- We use 100% natural hemp webbing for many of our belts.
- The dust covers are made from either 100% recycled plastic bottles or organic cotton/ hemp canvas.
Additionally, we are committed to manufacturing our products locally, right here in Los Angeles. The small, family-owned company that makes our products treats the craftspeople they employ as extended family. They provide pleasant, safe working conditions, pay fair wages and treat all employees with honor and respect.