A detailed look into consumers’ views and knowledge on leather and the leather industry, and the possible future of leather within the fashion industry
Leather is quite often overseen as a product made from animals, with many consumers boycotting fur but happily purchasing leather. With the leather industry being secretive, there was an opportunity to inform and educate others.
Through my final year of university I put my focus onto a topic which I found personally interesting and which I was passionate about. Through my love for animals, I decided I wanted to investigate leather as a material and the industry behind the material, and find out consumers and brands opinions, with many consumers forgetting or overlooking where leather comes through.
The topic began with my dissertation, with my research topic being, ‘To explore if there is an opportunity for new innovative materials to rival animal based Leather within the fashion industry?’ My dissertation lead me to research into the leather industry and the possible environmental and ethical impacts that producing leather can have, and to investigate the possible innovative materials which could potentially rival traditional leather.
For my dissertation I carried out primary research with consumers and brands, to research into their opinions and knowledge about leather and the leather industry. The primary research allowed me to see that there was an opportunity to inform consumers, and raise awareness about the leather industry, as many consumers stated that they rarely considered leather as a material made from animals and were not aware of the potential harmful impacts producing leather can have.
Following on from the research collected through my dissertation, for my Final Major Project was to create an organisation called ‘Hide Co.’ which would help existing brands manufacture ethical and eco-friendly leather, by following Hide Co.'s manufacturing criteria. Hide Co. also put empathies on being 100% transparent with consumers, through detailed labelling on all products manufactured under Hide Co.'s criteria, as well as having a charitable aspect, with 10% of each products proceeds being donated to the Labour Behind the Label charity, to help garment workers globally.