First of all, I hope no one will be offended by what I'm going to say or by the title of this post. It's only my opinion, I'm not asking everyone to share it and I'm not judging (I'm gonna say this a lot in this post, so sorry in advance))))
I'm a vegetarian. I've been a vegetarian for more than 5.5 years. It was my decision and I'm very happy with it - it was a right choise for me. I'm not saying that I'm gonna be vegetarian for the rest of my life. I'm pretty realistic about it - I don't know what's gonna happend with me in two days or two years. But as the time goes by, I feel that being lacto vegetarian (I eat dairy products, cheese, eggs, seafood and even fish sometimes) is good for me - I'm feeling healthy and I have absolutely no desire to eat a steak.
I've stopped eating meat and chicken mostly because I've always been an animal lover and I think that if I can survive and be healthy without it I have no reason to be invovlved in this chain. Though I totally understand people who eat meat - I've been there and I always thought that meat is the only product I will never be able to stop eating. It's a choise and it really depends on ones blood type too, no one should do anything that'd make him/her feel uncomfortable or damage his/her health.
But as for me - I've stopped eating meat in summer of 2005. I've almost stopped buying leather also. Once again, it's a choise. I personally don't think that a cow should die violently because I want a leather handbag or vallet. But I don't judge (who am I to judge, honestly - I have a lot of my own baggage and I'm very far from being perfect) - everyone makes their own decision, and I don't get involed, unless some person, who knows about my beliefs, is constantly (more than 2-3 times) trying to get my opinion on her new leather vallet in a very rude manner. Well, like showing it in my face and reapeating: "Just touch it, it's so smoooth, because it's from baby animal". Guilty as charged, at situation like this I've lost my temper a few times. Well, once again - I'm not perfect. I've read a lot and watched many documentaries on this subject and I can say without a doubt - the leather and fur-making business is very violent and cruel towards animals.
On not being perfect note - I do buy leather shoes sometimes. Because sometimes it's a nessesity - other matherials aren't always comfortable when it's really cold or really hot.
I'm not an idealist - I know that if I'll ever starve, or if I'll get sick, I would eat meat. And if my feet are freezing or not getting enough air, I'll buy leather shoes. But I wouldn't buy a leather bag, or jacket or a vallet - it's not a nessesity, I can live without it, so I don't think that it's worth the life of a leaving creature.
I do, however, approve of wearing gifts (I wear all the stuff I got for birthdays or New Years - it's gifts, what can I do? Not everyone knows me that well) and buing vintage or second hand fur and leather - these animals are already dead, what's done is done. I have my mom's vintage coat from 70-s - it has collar made of mink's fur. And I'm gonna wear it, I guess. I also have two leather jackets and a leather passport cover from Neri Karra (both gifts), and I wear/use them. I just don't want to create a demand on killing other animals.
But once again, that's me. Everyone has his own beliefs.
What's sad - looking through lot's of fashion collections and lookbooks tends to make me really sad. I love fashion, I love beautiful clothes and accessories, but I'm starting to feel that in order to look good I should forget about everything I've just wrote. I'm looking at new acessories collections and catwalk shows and mentally creating a list of things I wouldn't even concider having - shoes, handbags, jackets... I know that situation improved a lot in the last couple of years, but it still is very far from being perfect.
That's why I adore Stella McCartney and her vegan collections.
pictures are found via Google image search
I would really loved it if fashion had some mercy and compassion after all - if more designers shown mercy and started making their bags in both genuine and faux leather to give us a choise, then lot's of us could have the stuff we like and still show mercy. Because I honestly don't think that I will ever buy a leather purse unless I see it in a vintage store.