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The Materials

Animal based leather is an incredibly profitable yet destructive industry.  90% of the world's fashion leather is chrome tanned (the only way to achieve the majority of desired fashion tones in a consistent + cost effective manner) + will not biodegrade. 

It is resource intensive, the tanning process is often horrific for the workers in the space, the chemical run off pollutes waterways, and of course, the animal ‘utilised’ is considered a profit centre, not a sentient being who can feel pain, fear + trauma.

We believe in striving for a kinder world, where animals are not exploited for our food or fashion. However, we’re not going to greenwash the situation. We mostly use synthetics in our handbags with a small but growing cohort of biobased fabrics. Plastic polymers ARE a problem in our world + we (the global WE) must work on ways to innovate materials that can biodegrade easily, with no harmful impact to the environment.  

Yet, emotions run high when it comes to synthetic leather.  When the status of animal hides are challenged, it can often be seen as an afront to the natural order of the fashion establishment.  It threatens belief systems that are built on animals being seen as dispensable, 'other' + exploitable.  

Polymers are a part of everyday life thus far.  White goods, cosmetics packaging, toothbrush bristles, pens, conduits, electronic casings + a myriad of items in our home, office, car....all made from plastics.  For good or for bad, they are a part of our world - and figuring out how to recycle them or come up with ways to replace them, should be a central focus for those with the technical know-how to do it.  It is important to note, for fashion handbag construction to have longevity + remain 'good looking' it does generally need to have a coating of some description, and this is typically a polymer of some sort.  This is not the end of the story of course - there are developments occurring in the material space that will transform the industry + we are working to fold these new innovations into our collection as we build.  We’d love to invite you to jump on to our Creative Journal+ read more about the research on environmental impact of leather here. If you want to delve further into the psyche of animal exploitation + the unfair treatment of animals for fashion, we recommend reading the excellent book, Fashion Animals, by Joshua Katcher. You can read about our current materials below... it's an ever evolving process and we are committed to keeping our community informed.  

EDUCATION: WHAT IS 'VEGAN LEATHER'?
Various Reader Satchels hang along a green wall in the Sans Beast studio.
Whether it's for environmental or ethical reasons, more + more people are seeking alternatives to leather in the fashion space. The term 'vegan leather' has gained in popularity as a result. What does this mean, what are the options, is it better or worse for the environment? For Sans Beast, ethics will always be a fundamental element of this conversation - we don't believe animals should suffer for our fashion choices - however for many, it's a bigger conversation around the environment + finite resources, that resonates.  We attempt to offer some insight on this subject in this blog post.
EDUCATION: OUR RAW MATERIAL ROADMAP
Three brown toned Sans Beast tote bags sit on yellow perspex plinths in front of a richly patterned wallpaper.
It's been awhile since we've written about our approach to raw materials + with the rapid change occurring in this space, combined with enthusiasm around the question of 'whats to come next for Sans Beast?', our founder, Cathryn Wills, has written an overview of our material roadmap.  Read on for a recap of where we've come from, where we're at + where we're going.  It's an evolving space + with collection leadtimes being 11+ months, combined with development cost investment challenges, it's one that moves slowly (but surely) for this independent, small business.
EDUCATION: OUR SUSTAINABILITY JOURNEY
A flatlay image of a Sans Beast Reader Satchel + Barricade Strap with dustbag, printed tissue paper and stickers.
Sustainability is the buzzword of the moment. We don't profess perfection, but we have made some intentional choices in our manufacturing, materials + packaging that keep us on a path we are proud of.

MATERIAL DETAILS

RECYCLED COATED FABRICS  + WEBBING

The majority of our collection (as of Feb 2023) is constructed using materials with 58% recycled content - including PU coated fabrics, recycled polyester webbing + new Sans Beast printed lining made from recycled PET (plastic bottles + textile waste). These fabrics are Global Recycled Standard certified. 

BIO-BASED FABRICS

A small (but progressively growing) component of our collection is made up of bio-based materials – either pure cotton used in our canvas totes, or Italian AppleSkin™ used in our Sans Beast X The Brave GentleMan collab collection. This fabric is made up of 25% apple material from fruit industry waste + 35% REACH compliant PU, on a poly cotton substrate. We launched a handbag + wallet pairing made from Mirum by Natural Fiber Welding in August 2023 + Desserto Cactus 'leather' will be rejoining our collection again in early 2024.

ZINC ALLOY + STEEL

Our custom (meaning, we designed, developed + invested in our own metal trimmings) hardware is made from zinc alloy and then plated in a variety of tones depending on the item we are trimming.  The plating is a surface layer, and will fade over time depending on skin type, sweat, perfume etc.  Our metal chain handbag straps are made from robust + super strong steel or aluminium.

The Materials

Animal based leather is an incredibly profitable yet destructive industry.  90% of the world's fashion leather is chrome tanned (the only way to achieve the majority of desired fashion tones in a consistent + cost effective manner) + will not biodegrade. 

It is resource intensive, the tanning process is often horrific for the workers in the space, the chemical run off pollutes waterways, and of course, the animal ‘utilised’ is considered a profit centre, not a sentient being who can feel pain, fear + trauma.

We believe in striving for a kinder world, where animals are not exploited for our food or fashion. However, we’re not going to greenwash the situation. We mostly use synthetics in our handbags with a small but growing cohort of biobased fabrics. Plastic polymers ARE a problem in our world + we (the global WE) must work on ways to innovate materials that can biodegrade easily, with no harmful impact to the environment.  

Yet, emotions run high when it comes to synthetic leather.  When the status of animal hides are challenged, it can often be seen as an afront to the natural order of the fashion establishment.  It threatens belief systems that are built on animals being seen as dispensable, 'other' + exploitable.  

Polymers are a part of everyday life thus far.  White goods, cosmetics packaging, toothbrush bristles, pens, conduits, electronic casings + a myriad of items in our home, office, car....all made from plastics.  For good or for bad, they are a part of our world - and figuring out how to recycle them or come up with ways to replace them, should be a central focus for those with the technical know-how to do it.  It is important to note, for fashion handbag construction to have longevity + remain 'good looking' it does generally need to have a coating of some description, and this is typically a polymer of some sort.  This is not the end of the story of course - there are developments occurring in the material space that will transform the industry + we are working to fold these new innovations into our collection as we build.  We’d love to invite you to jump on to our Creative Journal+ read more about the research on environmental impact of leather here. If you want to delve further into the psyche of animal exploitation + the unfair treatment of animals for fashion, we recommend reading the excellent book, Fashion Animals, by Joshua Katcher. You can read about our current materials below... it's an ever evolving process and we are committed to keeping our community informed.  

EDUCATION: OUR RAW MATERIAL ROADMAP
Three brown toned Sans Beast tote bags sit on yellow perspex plinths in front of a richly patterned wallpaper.
It's been awhile since we've written about our approach to raw materials + with the rapid change occurring in this space, combined with enthusiasm around the question of 'whats to come next for Sans Beast?', our founder, Cathryn Wills, has written an overview of our material roadmap.  Read on for a recap of where we've come from, where we're at + where we're going.  It's an evolving space + with collection leadtimes being 11+ months, combined with development cost investment challenges, it's one that moves slowly (but surely) for this independent, small business.
EDUCATION: WHAT IS 'VEGAN LEATHER'?
Various Reader Satchels hang along a green wall in the Sans Beast studio.
Whether it's for environmental or ethical reasons, more + more people are seeking alternatives to leather in the fashion space. The term 'vegan leather' has gained in popularity as a result. What does this mean, what are the options, is it better or worse for the environment? For Sans Beast, ethics will always be a fundamental element of this conversation - we don't believe animals should suffer for our fashion choices - however for many, it's a bigger conversation around the environment + finite resources, that resonates.  We attempt to offer some insight on this subject in this blog post.
EDUCATION: OUR SUSTAINABILITY JOURNEY
A flatlay image of a Sans Beast Reader Satchel + Barricade Strap with dustbag, printed tissue paper and stickers.
Sustainability is the buzzword of the moment. We don't profess perfection, but we have made some intentional choices in our manufacturing, materials + packaging that keep us on a path we are proud of.

MATERIAL DETAILS

RECYCLED COATED FABRICS  + WEBBING

The majority of our collection (as of Feb 2023) is constructed using materials with 58% recycled content - including PU coated fabrics, recycled polyester webbing + new Sans Beast printed lining made from recycled PET (plastic bottles + textile waste). These fabrics are Global Recycled Standard certified. 

BIO-BASED FABRICS

A small (but progressively growing) component of our collection is made up of bio-based materials – either pure cotton used in our canvas totes, or Italian AppleSkin™ used in our Sans Beast X The Brave GentleMan collab collection. This fabric is made up of 25% apple material from fruit industry waste + 35% REACH compliant PU, on a poly cotton substrate. We launched a handbag + wallet pairing made from Mirum by Natural Fiber Welding in August 2023 + Desserto Cactus 'leather' will be rejoining our collection again in early 2024.

ZINC ALLOY + STEEL

Our custom (meaning, we designed, developed + invested in our own metal trimmings) hardware is made from zinc alloy and then plated in a variety of tones depending on the item we are trimming.  The plating is a surface layer, and will fade over time depending on skin type, sweat, perfume etc.  Our metal chain handbag straps are made from robust + super strong steel or aluminium.