In the greenwashing era, with big brands that boast a sustainability which is, as yet, completely unproven invoking metal-free leathers without having adequate knowledge of what this means in terms of the tanning process, we are quite happy to give the floor to those who have always produced tanned leather only with tannins of natural origin. Simone Remi, president of The Genuine Italian Vegetable Tanned Leather Consortium, intervenes in the current debate, emphasising in particular “the hypocrisy of a market that sells materials deriving from oil passing it off as ecological, actually deceiving the same consumers”, as well as the damage caused by environmental organisations “which spread fake news as the one that animals are killed to use their skin”.
“The task of our Consortium, which this year celebrates 25 years – continues Remi – is first of all to promote the culture of material, in order not to lose beforehand the battle of competitiveness. We are 22 companies of an artisan nature that recover and ennoble waste material, giving it unique characteristics through processes that require time and attention. Our prices are the result of a production entirely made in Italy that respects an infinite series of regulations on labour, environment and security in our country, in the European Union and in all the countries where we export our leathers. So those who buy cheap leather in countries with milder laws and no controls, should not be allowed to talk about sustainability”.
Fortunately, the quality of vegetable-tanned leather still has many admirers, especially in advanced markets such as Japan and Korea where demand is increasing. “In the Far East consumers are more attentive to the intrinsic quality of the material, regardless of the strength of the brand, and they greatly appreciate the peculiar characteristics of our leather”.
Every year the Consortium organises promotional events on the main outlet markets, from China to Great Britain, to the United States. The last one took place this past November 27 at the Italian Cultural Institute of Tokyo. In addition to the traditional leather exhibition, a seminar was held dedicated to the sustainability and circularity of leather. In particular, the longevity of leather and vegetable artifacts has been compared with the fast fashion bulimia, which invades the world with accessories and garments destined to live a single season, pushing visitors to think which consumption is more sustainable. Also on display leather accessories made by the young designers who participated in the last edition of the Craft The Leather competition involving fashion schools worldwide.