While our journey to discover the best materials for our collections will be an ongoing one, our number one focus is to challenge the fashion paradigm that animal products are essential for the design process.
Animal based leather is an incredibly profitable yet destructive industry. 90% of the worlds 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 cactus material from Desserto in Mexico. 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.
However, polymers are a part of everyday life thus far. We know that people are not overly inclined to fuss about their white goods, cosmetics packaging, toothbrush bristles, pens + a myriad of items in their home or office, made from plastics.
Yet, when the status of leather is challenged, it can often be seen as an afront to the natural order of the fashion establishment – because, quelle horreur, the alternative is often a synthetic.
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.
We’d love to invite you to jump on to our Creature Blog + 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.
42% of our collection is constructed from fabrics that have a 58% recycled content that is a combination of pre + post consumer inputs. We're talking factory floor waste as well as plastic bottles. These fabrics are water based, solvent free + Global Recycled Standard certified.
4% of our collection is made from Desserto Pelle organic cactus ‘leather’. We put the word ‘leather’ in quotation marks, as the makers of this innovative material feel it’s time to stop using the word that is associated with animal skins. A new world is dawning + we are here for it. Read more here about Desserto cactus fabric.
Used for its strength + durability, alloy is a metallic substance made by mixing two or more metals (or a metal and nonmetal), to obtain desirable qualities such as hardness, lightness + strength. Our custom 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, an alloy of iron + carbon.
SING FAI HANDBAG + METAL LTD, LI'S INDUSTRIAL ESTATE, QIAOLI VILLAGE, CHANGPING TOWN, DONGGUAN CITY, GUANGDONG, CHINA
We work with brothers Tony + Sing Lee + team, at their family run facility in the Changping region of Dongguan. Cathryn, our founder, has been working with Tony for over 14 years, and through this time, they have built a solid + trusting relationship.
Sing Fai are a relatively small factory, in comparison to many handbag factories, however they do have several large customers across the US, Australia + Europe.
Workers are paid above the regional award rate + as is standard practise in China factories, accommodation + meals are provided as part of their employment contract.
We visit the factory 4 times a year (pre COVID19), to work with the team on sampling, sourcing + production. You can get an insight to the production process, By watching 'A Makers' View' films.