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If something is to be called organic, it should contain carbon and (in terms of the dictionary definitions) be related to or derived from living matter. So, if you are a consumer who wants to wear natural, organic materials you should be buying leather. There is not an argument here; this is just a fact.
Of course, in making leather fit for purpose it gets treated with non-organic materials, most notably water, some of which leave residual amounts behind, either chemically attached to the fibres or trapped amongst them. In terminological terms that does not matter as the amounts are tiny compared to the fibrous matter, which is totally built up of chains of very organic amino acids. As tanners, we should treasure the word organic. It is ours, not owned by one or two processes and denied the rest, or exclusive to someone making a puffy material from mushrooms. Leather is organic, full stop.
Indeed, the very definition of leather (the hide or skin of animal, essentially intact) shouts organic, and very loudly shouts “derived from a living matter”, not concocted like so many other definitions, nor “biofabricated”, a marketing term made up to confuse consumers.
There is a move among some consumers to choose smaller brands, which offer local, more original and more organic products. They are seen as more trustworthy than the big brands that make up farm names to pretend a product is fresh or offer unlikely promises on origin.
Leather should be there in every use. Natural, organic, long-lasting and, if my long-term prediction on tanning comes true, increasingly local. The foundation of a great education and marketing programme.
Dr Mike Redwood
June 12, 2018.
Follow Dr Mike Redwood on twitter: @michaelredwood
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