Be For Change

reuse leather

BFC Woven Leather Tote, in collaboration with Aurélie Fontan

Upcycled Leather GoodsAna CarneiroComment

There’s a new bag in London town!

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Earlier in the year I shared with you that I have been receiving some alarmingly large pieces of leather meant for landfill. These hides often have a few large cut outs, but are mostly untouched due to the presence of defects: scars, variances in colour and grain, etc.

Here’s my reaction, just in case you fancied seeing my scared face!

 
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Beautiful and tactile, our new upcycled leather woven tote bags are finally launching to the public!

These launched for the first time earlier this month at Top Drawer London, where they gathered a whole lot of attention from buyers from all over the country - and even a sneaky shop from Scotland!

The larger pieces of leather we receive are being lasercut and woven into these bags, with supply dictating how many bags we have available at any one time. These are soft and pliable, lighter than you might expect, and super easy-going. Grab it on your way out of the house, or use it as part of your decor.

The pattern is striking, the colours are timeless: this attention grabbing bag will never go out of fashion! It has been designed in collaboration with designer Aurelie Fontan. And with each bag being ethically handmade and saving 4410 square centimetres from going to waste, you can truly feel good about your purchase.

 
 

Each bag requires almost 5 hours of labour, making it by far the most time consuming product we have launched yet. I’m looking to produce some better quality footage of the different steps of production to show you very soon!

In the meantime, the bags are now available for pre-order (until the end of September), at which point they will launch at their retail price - and pre-orders will ship out to our first buyers!!! Very exciting times, which I will make sure to post about on our Instagram channel (which you should definitely be following if you aren’t already ;)

I would love to hear your thoughts on this product! Do you love it? Not really? Leave me your opinions in the comments so I can keep on creating the products you are interested in - and save even more leather from an untimely trip to the landfill!

Ana xx

Better uses for Leather Waste: creative designs tackling the problem

Sustainable Future, Upcycled Leather Goods, War on WasteAna CarneiroComment

I have previously written about what different aspects to keep in mind when considering whether to buy leather or fake leather. In this post, we established that cow leather is a by-product of the meat industry (roughly 7.9 billion kilos of green hides come out of abattoirs per year, more than what the leather industry can cope with - source). We also took into consideration the chemicals used in the tanning process and how it fares against fake leather alternatives (they both have a huge environmental footprint). But at the end of the day, by choosing leather you are actually diverting waste from either landfill or incineration, it lasts much longer than the alternatives and nothing out there ages half as gracefully.

But the leather industry itself generates a good deal of waste, mostly in the form of defects and off-cuts: an estimated 805 million kilos per year, as calculated in this report (year 2000). All off-cuts are of finished leather (on average 25% of each hide is wasted), and a lot of defects are likewise only spotted at quality control after processing, meaning that a fair amount of this waste is leather that already has an environmental impact in the form of water, energy and chemical usage, as well as logistics. I’ve been unable to find what percentage of leather waste is fully processed leather, but even if we take the very conservative estimate that maybe 40% of waste total is finished leather in the form of defects and off-cuts, that represents 322 million kilos a year.

The majority of this leather either goes to landfill or is incinerated, with only a small amount being recycled into the manufacture of other products, such as leatherboard - a compound material formed by pressing scrap leather with paper and wood pulp.

Armed with the belief that waste is a failure in creativity, our new products aim to put a dent in these numbers.

Luckily for the environment, we are not the only company diverting this precious material from an untimely end!

Here are a few others championing leather upcycling and recycling:

Pepe Heykoop

Dutch designer Pepe Heykoop has tackled waste in a variety of mediums, and we couldn’t love him more for it! I am not ashamed to admit that I wish I had coined ‘Waste to Wonder’ myself… Pepe has a few different collections of objects made with waste leather, each of them more innovative than the former.

The amount of leather scraps shocked me. In reaction upon that I started to collect the offcuts. Randomly putting them together applying them as a new skin to existing objects. I have had the habit ever since to collect damaged or discarded furniture from the street and flea markets and collected them at my studio. Skin Collection makes use of merging these types of frames for its skeleton, a skin of leather leftovers growing as a cell like structure covering the objects.

 

AURELIE FONTAN

Young fashion designer Aurelie Fontan has been making waves in the fashion world with her designs that are built for circularity (meaning that they can be disassembled for reusing or recycling) and out of sustainable materials - such as leather that was being discarded of. Her new collection will focus on the subject indepth, and in the meantime her first retail product are the below bags made out of recycled leather. This is the kind of approach that could become a trend ;)



Jake Sketch

Jake has taken fine leather waste and given it an innovative use close to his heart: amazing footwear. Not only is this a practical use within an industry renowned for using leather, but it looks fantastic and we want to see it hit the market!

Elvis and Kresse

This waste-fighting duo started off by upcycling old hoses from the London Fire Brigade and have now started incorporating leather off-cuts into their design. Elvis and Kresse offer ‘Sustainable Luxury’ pieces, with a focus on accessories (handbags, wallets and belts) but they also do a few home products.

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Walk With Me

If you love great minimal design, the Walk With Me products made out of recycled leather will catch your eye. Functional and practical, they are great everyday companions. This small studio operates out of Madrid and their products are made out of a unique blend of waste leather and natural latex, meaning they are fully natural and compostable at the end of life.

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And then of course…

Our very own upcycled leather collection is also putting a dent on what goes to waste, and what gets a second chance at life. Our new products have just launched and we are keeping track of how many kilos of leather we’re rescuing - something we will keep you updated on.


Which is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below or on our social media channels!

Ana xx