Whether you’re a veteran vegan or just embarking on a newfound vegetarian voyage, you may still have a few old leather jackets lying around, or even Grandma’s mink coat collecting dust in the dark corners of your closet. So before tossing them out with yesterday’s trash, consider learning how to repurpose leather and fur – it can be beneficial whether you’re an herbivore or not.
Since adopting a plant-based diet many years ago, I have struggled with something that I’m sort of embarrassed to admit…I still own and wear leather products that I purchased prior to abstaining from other animals products. There, I said it! And yes, I just totally cringed after re-reading that statement.
As upset as this sometimes makes me, I have (mostly) come to peace with the idea that rather than simply donating or throwing leather items away, such pieces are truly better off in the hands of the individuals who care about animals more than most.
So rather than perpetuate the cycle of buying and selling leather when donating to certain charities, or completely wasting the byproduct (and life) of an innocent animal by throwing items away, why not take it a step further and learn to reuse and appropriate them constructively, in honor of the sacrifice?
Ultimately, the important thing to remember here is not to be racked with guilt, but to feel empowered knowing there is something you can do with your old animal products. Wrangle your jackets, gather your craft bin, and call on your bestie, so we can get your DIY juices flowing, because repurposed leather and fur definitely have a new lease on life.
If you’re no longer into wearing leather as-is, then take the liberty to transform it into something else. Turning a leather jacket into a purse is a given, but what if you want something more unique? Why not try out some new home décor with a pair of suede throw pillows for the sofa, or a reupholstered seat cushion from Mom’s 1980s leather trench coat.
Shoes can be a tough item to repurpose, but all hope is not lost. If you’re still hanging on to those worn out western boots from back in the day, turn them into a cool planter for flowers, or fill them with sand and use them as doors stops. Consider donating gently used dress shoes to Dress for Success, an organization that won’t resell your product and will instead put them to good use for disadvantaged women in need of professional attire.
Make sure old leather purses continue their journeys as trusty standbys and keep your emergency first aid kit, sewing kit, or even makeup and cosmetics stashed in an old satchel or clutch – brownie points if it has a structured bottom. Give the little women in your life a chance to play dress-up with a big girl purse, or use them as revamped candy collecting sacks for Halloween costumes.
Repurpose leather belts by making Fido and Fifi one-of-a-kind dog collars, or by crafting some creative drawer pulls for your mid-century dresser. Other ideas include curtain tie-backs, bracelet cuff jewelry, and straps or handles for just about anything. If you’re still stuck, check out The Refab Diaries for more ideas.
Fur coats are a topic of disdain for many animal activists. And while we can’t take back the suffering that was already experienced, we can at least work to make something good out of a bad situation.
Sometimes we’re given items that we never imagined owning, like fur coats that happen to be family heirlooms. So in order to make lemonade from very well-meaning lemons, here are some creative and even cute keepsake ideas for your furs.
Reupholster an ottoman or footstool using your old fur for a really great transformation like the one seen here – if you have enough left over, matching pillows are an option, too. Throw rugs are another great choice for large fur coats, as are throw blankets for the sofa.
Handmade teddy bears, or memory bears, are a popular option for unwanted furs. They are sweet gift ideas for children or relatives and don’t constantly remind one of where they originated. Etsy is a great place to start your search for a seller specializing in custom orders, or you can give Stadler Furs a try.
And last but not least, know that your furs can actually benefit other animals in need. Coats for Cubs, hosted by Buffalo Exchange, holds an annual fur drive encouraging the donation of old furs to help rehabilitate orphaned and injured animals that need a warm reminder of what it’s like to snuggle in comfort.
Fellow herbivores chime in! Did you like our ideas? Have you already tried these? Know something even better to suggest? Let us know your thoughts on the EcoSalon Facebook page!
Related on EcoSalon
Fast Fashion is So Totally Toxic and Gross [Video]
14 Clever Upcycling Ideas for Regular Household Goods
3 Must-Have Luxury Vegan Fashion Looks for Fabulous Cruelty-Free Style
Image of Woman on Clothes from Shutterstock