Helsinki Fashion Week is going in a direction that may prove to be game-changing for the fashion industry. The event has pledged to go leather-free starting in 2019! The move, following the widespread opposition to using fur among major fashions designers, is proof that the tides are finally turning against cruelty in fashion.

Event organizers made the decision to stop promoting the use of leather after receiving a letter from PETA, and the move was supported by the Nordic Fashion Week Association. “We at Helsinki Fashion Week, with the support of the Nordic Fashion Week Association, are taking an active stand against cruelty to animals and the damaging environmental impacts that the use of animal leather brings with it,” the organizers said.

Helsinki Fashion Week’s ban on leather is a hugely important step that is nothing short of groundbreaking, especially considering how widespread the use of leather is in the fashion industry. Many high fashion brands still do not offer alternatives to leather in products like handbags and wallets, since it is considered the “most luxurious” and high-quality option. In reality, more and more consumers choose alternatives to leather that do not require immense suffering and the death of living creatures. Instead of producing leather goods, manufacturers can now choose from a great number of different materials, from durable cork to vegan leather made out of pineapple fibers.

The leather industry’s toll is more than one billion animals per year, PETA reports. Before being killed, the animals are subjected to severe confinement, castration with no pain relief, and intense crowding. Moreover, leather is a by-product of the meat industry, which is one of the biggest contributors to climate change and has devastating effects on the environment and our own lives. Some major designers, like Stella McCartney or Vika Gazinskaya, already do not support leather. Thanks to them and changes like the one made by Helsinki Fashion Week, leather in fashion is finally on its way to becoming obsolete!

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