Why do we use up-cycled leather?

Why do we use up-cycled leather?

We are very proud to introduce our new collection of bags and accessories made from upcycled leather on our website.  We were inspired to create these new styles as a way to offer low-impact accessories.

’In the spirit of my first collection of bags made from vintage plaid wool pants, this Fall marks the introduction of a new material - a plentiful resource right here in New York. I have added rescued leather to my collection. I see this as the next step in reducing waste and taking advantage of rare high-grade leather in a responsible manner’, Crystalyn explains.


Let’s have a closer look at why our rescued leather bags are truly gentler on the planet.


The guiding light of Crystalyn Kae is to create useful accessories with luxurious materials that will stand the test of time. Leather is a very long-lasting material, it can last thousands of years. So, why should we produce new when we can up-cycle? We bet on this perfect equation: long lasting, high grade reclaimed leather paired with original but timeless designs to offering gorgeous reliable life companions.



'I know I am mostly known for my vegan handbags and accessories but as my company grows, I recognize the impact that using virgin materials has on our planet. There is no doubt that using vegan leather for handbags is less polluting than creating with new leather,  however what consumers and designers aren't considering is that creating with reclaimed unused leather is 100% less polluting than vegan leather. In my 20 years in business, my eyes have been opened to the tremendous waste in the luxury leather industry and I have found a way to utilize this in a responsible manner that cherishes this precious resource' Crystalyn says.

Wearing vegan leather isn't going to save the planet. In fact, consuming more new materials (vegan or otherwise) is actually compounding the problem. 90% of a cow, pig or goat's value comes their meat: and leather is a subsidy of the meat industry  So, cutting back on our meat consumption is still the best way to spare animal life. By giving reclaimed leather a new life, we can meet the demand for leather handbags in an ethical way.


Apart from these animal-related issues, using new leather is one of the least sustainable materials used in fashion because of the impact of livestock farming. Raising animals for food and leather requires huge amounts of feed, pastureland, water, and is responsible for the worst greehouse gas: methane

Moreover, producing new chromed-tanned leather is a major source of land and water degradation because turning skin into leather also requires massive amounts of energy and dangerous chemicals that end up in the rivers and oceans. However, by using up-cycled materials, we are cutting down on energy and resources to make new materials without affecting the atmosphere or the oceans.


Manufacturing leather creates a lot of leather waste when the material gets cut. ‘When I visited some very high-end leather handbag manufacturers in Florence Italy, they told us that nearly 50% is waste because it's not 'perfect' enough. I think we need to re-think what natural beauty of leather looks like!’ Crystalyn points out.

We are part of a circular economy, which is an amazing alternative to waste. ‘In New York City, the heart of American fashion manufacturing, I have access to a plentiful supply of exceptionally rare swatches, mill-end rolls, and even production leftovers from major designers and manufacturers. I have had the pleasure to collaborate with a local non-profit, Fab Scrap, to obtain my leather (and textiles) for my current collection.’ 

‘Up cycling gives me the freedom to experiment with new materials - and the icing on the cake is that I can make use of this low impact leather, reduce climate change, take what other manufacturers are too large and inefficient to utilize’. 

Up-cycling doesn’t only reduce our own impact, it reduces the ecological impact of traditional leather production!

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