How sustainable are leather pants

Woman walking on the streets in a fashionable outfit

In the quest for sustainability in fashion, one iconic yet often misunderstood staple stands tall: leather pants. While misconceptions abound, delve deeper, and you’ll uncover an eco-champion that defies stereotypes. Beyond the glamour and allure lies a material rooted in sustainability, contributing significantly to a greener, more ethical fashion realm. Let’s peel back the layers and unveil the truths about leather pants and their integral role in sustainable fashion.

In brief – what you will encounter in this blogpost:

  • What science says about the sustainability of leather products
  • 3 factors which help you determine if leather pants really are sustainable
  • The role of leather pants in a circular economy

The scientific point of view on how sustainable leather pants are

According to Professor Rachel Garwood, director of the Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT) at the University of Northampton, leather is indeed a sustainable product today. She frequently collaborates with environmental biologist Dr. Kerry Senior (University of Kent), who represents the industry as the director of Leather UK.

Both Dr. Senior and Professor Garwood emphasize that leather is a byproduct. According to the FAO, 99 percent of all leather comes from the hides of cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats.

These are the same animals that provide us with meat, milk, and wool that we consume, drink, and use.

Annually, the industry processes more than 8 million tons of animal hides. If we did nothing with these hides, we would have an enormous waste problem.

“Waste from the meat industry gains economic value thanks to the leather industry.”

Sourcing sustainable leather: A paradigm shift in ethical fashion

The essence of sustainability in leather pants lies in the sourcing of the leather itself. Contrary to popular belief, sustainable leather isn’t a byproduct of fast fashion’s detrimental practices. Instead, it emerges from conscientious sourcing methods, predominantly involving ethically raised livestock.


The cornerstone of sustainable leather is traceability. Ethical brands rigorously track the origins of their leather, ensuring it hails from responsibly managed farms. These farms prioritize animal welfare, eschewing the practices associated with mass production and opting for humane treatment throughout the animal’s life.


The leather industry often operates in tandem with the meat industry, utilizing hides that would otherwise go to waste. Embracing this byproduct philosophy reduces waste, maximizing the utility of each animal and minimizing environmental impact.

Environmental impact

Sustainable leather production embraces eco-friendly tanning processes. Innovations in tanning technology now employ chromium-free and vegetable-based tanning methods, significantly reducing the environmental footprint compared to conventional methods. Additionally, efficient water management systems minimize water usage, mitigating one of fashion’s most pressing environmental concerns.

Contributing to a circular economy

The sustainability narrative extends beyond sourcing; it embraces durability and longevity. Leather pants epitomize longevity in fashion. Their durability ensures an extended lifecycle, transcending fleeting trends and ephemeral fashion seasons. Quality leather pants, when cared for properly, can last for decades, defying the rapid turnover characteristic of fast fashion garments.

The key lies in advocating for a circular economy, where durability, repairability, and longevity reign supreme. Leather pants epitomize this ethos, encouraging consumers to invest in timeless pieces that withstand the test of time, fostering a shift away from the buy-and-discard culture perpetuated by fast fashion.

Embracing ethical consumption

By choosing sustainable leather pants, consumers actively engage in ethical consumption. Opting for quality over quantity, they champion responsible fashion practices. Each purchase serves as a vote for a more sustainable industry, supporting brands committed to ethical sourcing and production.

Woman strolling through Park in fashionable leather pants

Are leather pants from
LET HER sutainable?

Yes. It upcycles waste from the food industry that would otherwise be discarded into products we use in our daily lives. Check out our sustainable leather pants in our online shop.

FAQs – How sustainable are leather pants

Are leather pants from LET HER environmentally friendly?

Yes. There are strict requirements regarding the use of chemicals in the leather industry, which also applies to our production. Our leather pants are responsibly made and the process is strongly regulated and certified with strong environmental characteristics. Our leather pants are a byproduct of the food industry that helps saving about 10 million tons of waste from landfills annually.

What are other sustainable benefits of leather pants by LET HER?

  • LET HER’s leather pants are usually byproducts of the meat industry and therefore have minimal impact on climate and land use.
  • Very strong material: a leather pants by LET HER or a good pair of leather shoes lasts a lifetime.
  • They do not contribute to the wordlwide plastic soup problem.

How can I best maintain my leather pants?

About this topic we wrote an in-depth article: Maintaining leather pants: 6 tips to keep them beautiful for a lifetime

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