A Quality Leather Travel Bag
If you've been following my Thrifty Thursday series, you'll remember my previous post about keeping an eye out for quality items while thrift shopping. I mentioned one of the best quality materials you can look for at a thrift store is leather. The reason for this is because generally, leather is expensive; even though it does hold its value over time. When you think of leather items, usually jackets, shoes and bags come to mind.
My husband and I travel a lot and have been in need of a new weekend duffle bag for quite some time. I've been thinking of the value and longevity of leather, and am considering it as a suitable long-term travel bag. Also, because they are beautiful and timeless pieces. But of course, with anything animal related, there is always controversy. I’ve done some research on the leather industry and I have to say, I don’t think it’s always fairly portrayed. While I think there have definitely been some problems and misuse in the animal industry, I don’t think it’s fair to group all of them in the same category. Here are some facts about the leather industry that I have recently learned.
First of all, the leather industry is based on processing and recycling a by-product of the meat, dairy and wool industries. Over 99% of global leather production is made from hides or skins of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. Therefore, the sustainability of the leather industry depends on the raising of animals for food and wool.
The leather industry is utilizing the hides and skins which, if the industry did not exist to process them, create an enormous waste disposal problem with accompanying health hazards.
Leather is a renewable, natural resource. If it was not produced, it would have to be replaced by synthetic materials derived from nonrenewable resources.
Furthermore, there are global regulations in place for animal treatment. Farms are required to have healthy and controlled breeding conditions, as well as avoid misuse, suffering, pain and/or injury to the animals. They are also required to have safe conditions during transfer or transport. Finally, animals must be “put down” in conditions that minimize pain and stress.
The industry recognizes that the quality of hides and skins they receive generally reflects the health, welfare and conditions in which the animal has lived. The quality, efficiency and profitability of these tanners operations, depend significantly upon the quality and consistency of these raw materials.
Leather is an incredibly versatile material. In the fashion industry, leather shoes remain popular because they are both comfortable and durable. Leather jackets are windproof, water resistant, and extremely durable.
Vegan leather is not always manufactured in a beneficial way for the environment, because of the toxins in the plastic used to create it. These toxins can cause developmental and reproductive issues and even cause cancer.
Leather is an organic material, faux/vegan leather is man-made. It does not fully biodegrade, even though it does break down to a degree; it can also release toxic particles which can affect the health of animals and the environment.
Also, faux leather does not last nearly as long as genuine leather products. So you're having to replace items more often, wasting money, and contributing to even more global waste.
All this to say, it really doesn't matter where you stand on the side of leather or faux leather. They both have their positive and negative impact on the environment. Whether it's using animals for our own needs, or creating synthetic non-renewable materials. You just can't get away from being a consumer of something. We're all contributing to the detriment of our environment. No one can be 100% eco-friendly all of the time, it's just not the kind of world we've created or live in. My suggestion would be to research any company you're hoping to purchase a product from, and see if their manufacturer practices line up with what you believe is acceptable in the production process. I believe I have found this in a company that not only gives back, but also produces a unique quality item.
Mahi offers some really great pieces. They are all made of the best leather, and have an old world steampunk style. They are perfect for traveling and and are surprisingly (for genuine leather) quite affordable. I'm not opposed to investing in high quality products when they will last for many years to come, and can be used in many different situations.
What Mahi bags offer and why I feel comfortable with their products:
All bags are made of fine grain leather, which is the best, and keeps its appearance as well as creating a beautiful patina over time.
They only use vegetable dye (not harsh toxins/chemicals) on their leather.
Styles are made in one business day - meaning, they remove the middleman. This significantly reduces waste and removes associated costs with having to stock large quantities of material.
They are handmade, made to order, with beautifully soft cowhide (you know where it’s coming from - a cow, which we eat anyways).
MAHI donates $1.50 from the sale of each bag to FRANK Water, a UK based charity which has helped over 300,000 people gain access to clean water since 2005
So, if you’re going to spend money on a leather bag, at least do it with one you know is trying to tap down on their carbon footprint and help others along the way. I would be proud to own anything from this company. With Mahi, you know you’re getting a quality product at a fair price, and you’re not feeding into a corporate monster trying to take advantage of everyone involved.
This post is sponsored by Mahi