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I actually haven’t used leather bags until very recently. As I started to dig more into fashion, I was naturally bombed with information about various bags that ladies “should” own, most of which made of leather. So I persuaded myself to try some by buying second-hand ones first. After using several leather bags of various sizes, I want to explore the pros and cons of both leather and non-leather bags.
Let me exam the pros first:
I do think leather generally look better than non-leather, even nowadays many of both look strikingly similar. However, leather ages beautifully, leaving patina and traces of the usage of its owner, developing natural sheen and softness while you use it, while non-leather bags tend to be just torn apart. Some people might like the smell as well (which I certainly don’t!).
Leather bags also look more formal in many occasions, while cloth bags seem to be associated with casual occasions.
Durability and Longevity
Leather bags tend to be more durable, which takes a long time to be really broken to the extent that you can’t use it any more, which can certainly save you some money in the long run and less consumption means less waste as well.
Without any doubt, leather would beat most synthetic bags (of course here I am comparing the leather-like ones only) when it comes to the end of life, after all it’s something natural, which could return to nature more easily.
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Photo by Ty Feague on Unsplash
Now after all the good things we shall look at the cons:
Leather comes from dead animals, no doubt. Many leather products might come from animals that were unethically bred, treated and slaughtered. I think, personally, only buying second hand leather goods could be slightly ethical (they’re already there) and eco-friendly (recycling is a good thing). While buying products that are specifically made from naturally dead animals on the road might lessen the ethical concern, however, those products aren’t widely available yet, they might also take longer time or are more expensive to produce.
As a petite girl, every gram we carry with us adds to the burden. Even the smallest leather bag I use weighs more than my biggest canvas bag. I am the type of girl who has to carry her own SLR camera, as well as water, snacks, umbrella and extra clothes during traveling, and possibly even tripod, I do find I soon started to calculate the weight of everything I bring with me. Naturally leather bag is just way too heavy. Heavy loads, especially unevenly distributed, are very bad for the spines.
Water-proof and Care
When you use leather bag you have to be careful not to expose it directly to wetness, which is inconvenient when you travel in unpredictable weather, or when you need a little water-proof protection for your camera (or laptop!). Not to mention, caring leather bags gives me more hassles, I often have to use vacuum cleaner, damp cloth and leather cream, while I can simply clean the canvas or cloth ones by tossing it into washing machine.
Most new leather goods are more expensive than their non-leather counterparts. For people who love to have a bit more variation on a limited budgets, (unless they’re willing to look for second-hand items, this takes time and energy and some luck), choosing leather goods is not optimal.
So after all, even I appreciate the goodness of leather bags, I found myself constantly using the non-leather options too.
Do you also have a dilemma when using leather bags? What is your decision?
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