Comment by sequoia
Posted: October 13, 2021
Overconsumption is leading us to an extinction event. It is filling landfills for which we have no room, consuming resources at an unprecedented rate and using virgin materials, made from fossil fuels, in paltry quantities.
It has created a world of spendthrift, anxious and uncomfortable consumers. Global warming and the loss of biodiversity are consequences of overconsumption. As a global company we have dug ourselves in a really big hole and as everyone screams loudly about the escape we keep digging.
Part of the solution would be to fix things. It’s an old concept, but there’s a little movement going in that direction. Globally, we now have around 1,500 repair cafes, mainly targeting old electronics. Some governments legislate consumers’ rights to repair or have access to spare parts, while some prime-time television programs now deal with the repair of valuables.
As cities developed around the world, they had markets, or a series of markets, and most of them still exist, even though they are in decline. In the UK, from places as far away as Tenby in Wales to Inverness in Scotland, the old covered markets survive and in all of them you will find a shoemaker.
Since everything about the quality of leather revolves around the beauty and performance achieved by avoiding waste and the associated longevity of leather goods, this is an area that we must support.
The tanning industry must ensure that every consumer can have their items repaired. In the interest of increasing profits, many electronic products have replaced glue with screws, which means that their products often break when opened for repair. Meanwhile, the fashion industry has turned to low-cost polyester to lead the calamitous cheap, disposable movement, and most cannot be fixed; some do not even withstand two washes. Consumer sentiment and industry judgment have coincidentally been distorted by powerful lobbying from wealthy fossil fuel and plastics companies.
Looking for lower prices
Some of them were looking for low prices and others were planned obsolescence.
So buying and repairing better items is more and more important, and leather must be at the forefront. Let us dream that every town and small town in the world can have its own shoemaker. Preferably someone with the skills to repair and refurbish bags and other leather goods. Can you imagine your tannery adopting a leather repairer or owning a group; disseminate the name and reputation of the brand on the basis of one of the pillars of sustainable development?
Likewise, we should be working harder to support the many companies around the world that are engaged in restoring and repairing automobiles and furniture, as well as certain items that are too complex to handle in a small store.
Can we dream that in all these places we could have a showroom supported by the leather industry to explain the true value of leather to an urban society that does not know its origins and its property value in use? And in these places, is there a repairman who makes sure that anything leather has a chance to live a long life cherished by its owner?
It sounds like a challenge, but it is a necessity for an industry making such an exceptional material for modern consumers who understand so little.
October 13, 2021
Follow Dr Mike Redwood on Twitter: @michaelredwood
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