behind our leathers
If you’ve been following the simétrie journey, you would know now that our new collection, Pisces, is handcrafted with a new leather versus the kangaroo leather bags we’ve been creating since the brand began in 2019. To remain an ethically made bags brand where we make our handbags in Australia, and earn a sustainable income, we’ve had to explore other options other than our kangaroo leather bag designs.
The main reason for this, as I touched on in my previous journal entry, is that kangaroo leather is naturally thin and varying in thickness, so it needs the addition of reinforcements and linings to make them structured and durable. This drastically adds time to the creation process making the bag making process more of an art form [more on this to come], and less accessible for a broad audience. So in an effort to remain in business and keep production in Australia, I had to source a different material that would simplify the bag making process.
Our new leather
Australian bovine leather is naturally thicker, able to hold its shape without fillers or linings, and therefore allows us to create our beautiful handmade designs in our Australian atelier at more accessible prices.
The bovine leather we use is sourced from Australian reared cattle, which is a co-product of the meat industry. Our creative work creates demand for a product that would otherwise go to waste. This in turn supports Australian agricultural, cattle and food producers. All of which are industries that are the lifeblood of our regional and rural communities.
Our bovine leather has been ordered from Packer Leather, who is certified with non - profit Leather Working Group, the number one globally recognised brand representing responsible leather sourcing to the fashion industry. Wastewater is properly treated onsite so no process waste liquors end up in our country’s waterways.
What about the kangaroo leather designs?
I am still committed to creating sustainable bags in kangaroo leather, but unfortunately that does mean a price increase is coming in November 2023. If you’re on our email list, you will receive an early opportunity to shop current prices in the final week before they will increase.
Is there a vegan alternative?
I understand that not everyone will accept our decision to create fashion bags with animal leather. I am still looking for the right material to use for our vegan friends: one that is 100% plant based, that does not contain synthetics, will pair beautifully with the minimal aesthetics of our work, and will be suitable with the production set up in our Australian atelier. So far, it’s proven a hard puzzle to solve.
The closest I have found is Mirum from startup Natural Fiber Welding which is 100% plant-based [no PU or PVC coatings either]. There are a few barriers with this material though, mainly due to price, as it is too soft on its own, and would require even more labour than our kangaroo leather designs to create our signature shapes and aesthetics in Australia. We are working on a solution though, so watch this space.
As our production is all made in Australia, and our leather materials are Australian too, our carbon footprint is so much less than if our products were made overseas, or if we produced locally with offshore materials. So when you order a simétrie bag, not only are you supporting up to 200 + Australian jobs within our supply chain, you are also reducing your carbon footprint.
Alongside the creation of our products, we also consider the end of their life too. Leather is one of the oldest materials humans have been using, and can last decades [and even centuries] if looked after properly. As part of our commitment to circular fashion and the slow fashion movement, we aim to create shapes that are timeless, yet expressive, that will be coveted for as long as the materials will last. They are heirlooms to be well loved, cared for, repaired and passed on and not thrown into landfills.
Shop the Pisces collection in Australian bovine leather here.
Shop current prices on our kangaroo leather designs here.Sign up to the newsletter to stay in the know here.