A challenge, an invitation: Cotance, the European Leather Association, is calling for a public debate with Stella McCartney. To explain to her, to illustrate, once and for all, the good reasons of the tanning industry. To interrupt the vicious communication circuit that wants to make not only those who produce, but also those who wear leather to feel guilty. As we have already reported, the designer took advantage of the COP26 summit in Glasgow to ask fashion and design to banish the use of leather. In the name of sustainability, according to her, she launched a petition drive. This is all nonsense. In his open letter, Manuel Ríos, owner of the Spanish tannery Inpelsa and president of Cotance (pictured, left), explains why.
Stella’s untenable battle
“We understand that there may be those who, like you, for philosophical reasons do not want to consume or use animal products. We respect that,” writes Ríos, “but promoting this belief on a global scale makes no sense: it goes against the logic of circular economy. Leather is a by-product of the food industry”, recalls the president of Cotance, which tans it through a circular ennobling process. The only alternative is the landfill site or the incinerator. “As long as people on this planet eat meat, there will be raw hides. We’ll either use them in tanneries or throw them in landfills”.
No more guilt
Stirring up the idea, as Stella McCartney does, that stopping the use of leather (and fur) is a green solution is wrong. UNIC – Italian Tanneries has already answered the designer. The only result would be to sabotage a circular industry, make it necessary to use more synthetic materials, and ultimately increase the volume of waste to be disposed of. McCartney must be aware that “abolishing the use of leather can only generate pollution“, warns Ríos. Just as those who wear leather should be free to do so “without guilt” induced by others. That’s why Cotance’s president invites Stella McCartney “to discuss these issues in the conditions that suit her best”. Everything, as long as she stops “slandering a humble but legitimate industry,” he concludes, “which renders a circular service to society, produces lasting beauty from waste and strives for social and environmental excellence”.