Rescuing and Redesiging into Leather Waste

When it comes to ethical fashion activists’ opinions, the use of leather in fashion is a bit like marmite - you either love it or hate it. Despite this, we know our stance on using rescued leather waste. Here, we unpeel what we do with leather waste - from offcuts to stretch marks - in our bid to reduce waste and keep materials in use. 

Leather, like marmite and pineapple on pizza, divides opinions. Some are (rightfully) outraged at leather’s environmental impacts from field to fashion (think of cows’ carbon impacts, from methane to land use, loss of biodiversity, chemical use and the list goes on.) and its ethical implications (think questionable animal welfare and human rights practices). That said, leather lovers value its durability and argue that, for the large part, the skins used in fashion arise as byproducts from the food industry.

The R Collective - Leaving no durable materials behind

You know us - we hate seeing ‘waste’ go to waste. This includes leather, from full skins, smaller production offcuts to damaged leather like scratches and stretch marks. Leather, for all its pros and cons, is highly durable and so we hate to see it wasted.

Rescuing leather offcut waste: During leather goods production, paper patterns are laid out on irregular shaped hides, which inevitably results in leather offcut waste. The resulting helter-skelter of leather offcut shapes are tricky to redesign into, but that’s what we love!

Rescuing damaged leather waste: Leather hides may contain marks - think scratches, scars to stretch marks - and these ‘imperfections’ typically render the leather as unusable. The resulting miss-match of dismissed leather requires sympathetic designing, which is where we come in! 

Leather usage in a growing global market 

Despite the ongoing ethical conundrum about its usage, the leather market for clothing, footwear and accessories is predicted to grow globally. So leather skin usage is not coming out of fashion anytime soon. Therefore, sadly, neither will leather waste. 


Our System for Rescuing and Redesigning Leather Waste 

To address this tricky and growing waste stream, we’ve devised a collaborative system with our luxury brand partners, who have ongoing leather waste from their own production, and our suppliers and corporate partners to test and repeat viable small leather goods production.

Meet R Products -  Small Leather Goods made with a Big Load of Love  

That’s why we create small leather goods for global corporate partners. From branded keychains, luggage tags to card holders, together we can put old cows back to work to reduce virgin leather material usage, and reduce fashion’s negative environmental impacts.


Want to help us rescue complex leather waste? Let’s honour these durable materials and animals’ former lives. Have inquiries? Reach out to us here.


Want to know more? 

Discover more about R Textiles
Check out our R Products catalogue here.

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