Wearing the Skin of Your Neighbor

By: Annie Hau, Madeline Hlobik, Iqra Irfan, Anna O'Brien, and Megan Wong

How the use of animal-skin clothing for warmth and protection morphed into a fashion phenomenon with unexpected worldwide ramifications.

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In this magazine, you’ll learn about three main aspects of the animal-skin fashion controversy: 1) the history of animal-skin fashion and its indigenous roots, 2) the modern industrialization of leather and its shortcomings, and 3) the future of animal-skin fashion, whether that be leather, vegan leather, or something entirely different. This magazine issue dives into the specific controversies found within animal-skin fashion, calling into focus the experience of the animals themselves, human communities, the local ecosystem, and the health of the world at large.

Specific animal-skin fashion controversies include the ‘conservation vs animal harm’ debate with exotic leather use, weighing the economic opportunities within the leather industry against the biological harms brought to workers and their communities, and the environmental harms that come from the perceived solution to this whole debate: vegan leather. Deeper analysis of these interwoven controversies results in a more complex picture of the animal-skin industry, answering many questions and creating more in the process.

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