My position on using 'animal' products in fashion items (shoes, clothing, handbags, belts, etc.) has significantly changed over the years.
We grow up taking the great abundance of leather goods, and variety of meats, for granted. But the overuse of these products was not what was originally intended:
Genesis 1:26 "God said, Let us make man in our image and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth..."
Proverbs 12:10 "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." (KJV)
The over-consumption of animal products has led to a situation where man is no longer being a good steward of the earth - and over the 'beasts' - as commanded by God.
While I believe that animals were put on the earth to serve mankind, the situation has gone far beyond taking only what is needed.
There is no 'need' to have 10 leather handbags, or 12 different belts, or even 30 pairs of shoes and boots - or more!
Sure, have one or two really great leather items, and use cloth, nylon or 'pleather' for the extras - There are so many good quality alternatives now available on the market!
This is probably not the kind of talk you would expect to hear in the section of a website about 'Fashion', but it's something to really think about.
There is a lot of waste, false need, and greed propagated by the fashion industry in our modern world.
Additionally, factory farms, and factories for goods such as shoes, clothing, etc. has given us a false sense of abundance.
These types of large factories where other people are doing all this 'work' for us also gives us a false sense of entitlement.
Throughout most of history, the majority of people lived off the land, either hunting or raising livestock of their own.
These commodities were scarce, very difficult to obtain and required a significant amount of hard work.
If someone required leather goods, what was needed was obtained through skinning and curing the hide of an animal, or at the tanner's shop.
I daresay that if we had to kill and skin an animal, we would have much more appreciation for the time and effort of this process.
We would also have a much deeper appreciation of the sacrifice on the part of the animal kingdom, of which we are to be 'good stewards'.
As mentioned above, I don't have a problem with using animals and animal products in a responsible way for our needs.
It's instead with the way these items are currently being produced - from the exploitation of humans in factories, to that of animals in factory farms and feed lots.
These practices aren't good for man or beast, and contribute significantly to toxicity in the environment, and a disconnect with the land and its resources.
Environmental causes shouldn't just be about the 'earth', but rather the people who live there.
There are so few of us who now understand our connection to this earth that God created over which mankind was to have dominion.
Genesis 1:26 gives that command and privilege to man, however we are not currently being very good stewards 'over the earth'.
While most of us will probably never be able to get back to the 'old ways', there are still many things that one can do to become better 'stewards'.
One of those things is to seek out quality goods made of 'faux' leather and fur instead - preferably made in a US, or humane fair-trade factory.
Also, limit consumption of unnecessary goods - of all types. This will not only lessen the burden on the earth and its inhabitants, but also your wallet.
With these things in mind, you can enjoy being a 'good shopper' even more, as well as enjoying a clear and happy conscience.
One brand I can personally attest to is Koltov Faux Leather handbags. They look and feel like real leather, with no vinyl smell - very high quality and great price.
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