I have a mixed relationship with leather. On one hand, it’s pretty, comfortable, soft, durable, and versatile, making it great for everything from couches and jackets to shoes and handbags. Yet, it’s also—sorry to state the gross truth—animal hide. Most comes from cows, but some also comes from sheeps, pigs, and goats. This may be the equivalent of reminding you you’re eating animal flesh while downing a cheeseburger, but I believe it’s important to be aware of what we’re consuming, wearing, and sitting on, and make informed, ethical purchases whenever possible. And it’s possible to do that even if you’re, like me, a full on carnivore who eats bacon and wears knee-high boots.
I’m not saying we should all stop consuming leather products, but I am saying we should consume them mindfully and in moderation. In décor, as in fashion, overdoing it on leather is liable to make the whole look unbalanced and off. Instead, making it the singular focal point of a room (a couch, for instance) or a few different, subtle accents throughout a space (pillows, ottomans) works better.
And while real leather is still ubiquitous, vegan leather products have become much easier to come by—especially well-designed, affordable ones. So it’s not the worst idea to work those into your wardrobe and home when you can. To take the work out of it, we found several real and faux shopping options, plus styling inspo, below.