Reading Time: 2 minutes The event promotes sustainable fashion (Photo: Helsink Fashion Week/Tom Röllich)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Helsinki Fashion Week has pledged to ditch leather from July 2019, in a stand against animal cruelty.

The event, which promotes sustainable fashion and has been described as ‘fierce’ by Vogue, showcases cutting-edge design in a renewable energy-powered Eco-Village that is also zero waste.

Now event bosses have pledged to take their ethos step further by dropping animal skin, after vegan charity PETA supplied them with a letter that ‘extensively cites information about the leather industry’.

Intensive suffering

In its letter, PETA wrote: “The leather industry subjects more than 1 billion animals every year to intensive confinement, castration without pain relief, extreme crowding, and a terrifying trip to the abattoir. Leather is a lucrative co-product of the meat industry, which is one of the world’s biggest polluters and contributors to climate change.

“And tanneries – which use formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, cyanide-based dyes, and other dangerous chemicals – are notorious for polluting nearby water and soil.”

It added that a number of innovative designers – including Stella McCartney, Vika Gazinskaya, and Felder Felder – refuse to use the fabric, opting instead for new alternative materials crafted from pineapple leaves, grapes, mushrooms, cork, and more. In addition, it says, two-thirds of millennials reportedly would pay more for sustainably made items’.

PETA has campaigned against leather in the past

‘Active stand against animal cruelty’

Helsinki Fashion Week Founder, Evelyn Mora, said: “We at Helsinki Fashion Week, with the support of the Nordic Fashion Week Association, are taking an active stand against cruelty to animals and the damaging environmental impacts that the use of animal leather brings with it.”

PETA Director, Elisa Allen, added: “By banning leather, Helsinki Fashion Week will become a groundbreaking, cutting-edge presence on the fashion scene.

“PETA looks forward to seeing animal- and eco-friendly vegan fabrics take over Helsinki catwalks in 2019 and beyond.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.