At Village Leathers we care about how our everyday choices (in both our professional and personal lives) affects our local community and the wider world we live in. Earth’s ecosystem is under threat from global warming and at Village Leathers we actively practice a business model that is as kind to the environment as possible. We regularly review our practice to ensure our brand values are upheld and production process has minimal environmental impact.
Although we often feel like it would be best to drop off grid completely and live self-sufficiently in harmony with nature, sadly we lack the much needed survival skills for this!
Instead we’ve chosen to address some of the current issues contributing to global warming such as the culture of overconsumption, fast fashion and irresponsible sourcing of materials.
If we’re being honest, most of us get a thrill when we find a product we love. In a study published in Neuron, researchers looked at what's going on in the brain when we think about buying stuff. When a product image flashed before people's eyes, an area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens lit up when a subject liked what they saw. Essentially, the brain's pleasure center kicks into gear and floods the brain with dopamine at the very thought of getting something we want. If we can induce the same feeling towards top quality sustainable products we can help slow global warming.
Rethinking old habits
Fast fashion is at the forefront of hyperconsumerism. The constant feed of new trends from large corporations encourages us to keep buying new products and discard the old, leading to perfectly useable items often going to landfill. Moreover, these products must be manufactured as cheaply as possible so companies make a large profit. Most of the time of course, this means the manufacturing process is far from sustainable and there is a risk of employees being exploited.
Once we start to unpick consumerism and fast fashion many issues arise. There’s the extremely low wages of workers and poor working conditions. In the manufacturing process there can be harmful chemicals released into local water sources. During material and product distribution emissions released from the methods of transport used. The social and environmental cost of fast fashion is far more expensive for the planet than it is for your wallet.
But do not despair, let’s think about how we can change our shopping habits and continue to own items we love. One small change that will make a big difference is if we purchase goods from socially and environmentally responsible companies, this will lessen our impact on the environment and support fair working conditions. Win win!
How do we do it?
As you already know our Brand Values reflect the heart of our company and our heritage, below we’ll discuss a little about how they interlace with environmental considerations.
Creating practical and sustainable products
We’re using up a byproduct of the meat industry we help to reduce animal hides going to waste. Many of our products use vegetable tanned leather. Vegetable tanning uses natural, organic materials to process hides from a raw material into high quality Leathers. With no harsh chemicals being released into the environment, it is the most eco-friendly method of leather tanning.
We take care to craft our products in a way that ensures they can last a lifetime, they can even become well loved hand-me-downs. Our veg tanned Classic belts have a 25 year warranty and we offer a repair service for our customers treasured items. Once a belt or bag is ready to retire, because it’s made from veg tanned leather it can be biodegraded. It takes veg tanned leather around 50 years to decompose, compared to 1000 years for its plastic counterpart. All our product information is available on the product page so look out for items labeled as veg tanned Leather if you’d like to make the most environmentally friendly choice.
Consciously Sourcing Materials
We work with just a handful of Tanneries who make our leather. Our vegetable tanned leather is produced to the standards set out by Pelle Al Vegetale. These standards include a commitment to only using hides which are a by-product of the meat industry and member tanneries investing in waste recycling systems to recover and reuse substances. You can read more about them here.
Sustainably produced products can be more expensive in comparison to more ‘fast fashion’ products. This can be off putting but if we start to think of these products as investments the initial cost if often balanced by the longevity and quality of the item. If our Classic belts last 25 years you’ll be spending on average 80p per year on it. With the right skills and facilities it is possible to craft products that are both sustainable and affordable. Our years of experience and range of stellar machines allows us to manufacture our products in an incredibly cost effective way - and we pass that saving on to our customers.
As previously mentioned, seasonal fashion trends lead to waste. Last years now ‘untrendy’ but functional apparel ends up thrown out as we are encouraged to replace it with the latest fashion. This is why Village Leathers creates classic designs that outlive fleeting trends; our products are timeless, only getting better with age. You can be confident that your Village Leathers product will last indefinitely and are kinder on the environment than competitors.
Supporting handmade craft
London is the heritage and the inspiration of Village Leathers. Our brand was born here in 1974, and we continue to work from our aged workshop. From here we continue to promote local skills and traditional craft in an area where many in the manufacturing sector have been pushed out. Our employees have high working standards and we champion giving the opportunity to learn traditional methods and increasingly rare skills. The majority of our custom takes place in our Covent Garden stores, meaning our creations travel a mere five miles to their sales destination - a small way we are reducing the carbon footprint of our business.
Our open and transparent approach lets customers make fully informed decisions, confident our materials are responsibly sourced.
We believe wholeheartedly in protecting our planet and by making small changes to our daily lives and habits we can protect it together. By continually examining every aspect of our business and how our products are created we work towards a more socially and environmentally friendly business model.
If you’d like to find out more or have a question about a specific product please get in touch.