Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Little Leather Jacket: Find it on Ebay!!

So, a recent post on A Serious Job is No Excuse (which, I might add is slightly addictive), talked about the re-emergence of the Little Leather Jacket (LLJ) and commenters wanted to know where they could get their stylish little hands on an affordable option. So, I thought I would troll Ebay and give people some suggestions.

But, first, some background on why I think you should buy a vintage leather jacket as opposed to a new one or a leather alternative. (Feel free to skip right to the end at this point if you just want to check out the jackets.)

Personally, I don't like to wear leather as a coat. I do wear leather on my feet and around my waist (although I try to buy it vintage . . . which probably is no consolation to the vegans out there), but I just can't bring myself to wear it on my back - I just keep thinking of that scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Han has to cut the stomach of that snow creature and put Luke inside it so he doesn't die from the cold . . . My God, I am such a total dork!!! Anyway . . . back to the story. So, last year, seizing on the LLJ craze, I bought one at Target (yes, still fighting my habit) that was made from PVC, a synthetic leather-looking sort of material. It is actually a pretty good copy of the real thing - at least for all of us who aren't leather experts, per se.

But then one day, I was reading Target's Corporate Responsibility report (probably trying to justify my habit), and saw that they had several paragraphs about their efforts to reduce their use of PVC in building their stores because it was so damaging to the environment. So, I thought, "hmmmmm . . . what the hell is this stuff that my cute little jacket is made from?" Basically, when PVC is made AND when anything with PVC is thrown in the trash and then incinerated in your local municipal waste facility, it produces dioxin (this was reported on by the EPA in 2005). There really is no scientific disagreement that dioxins are pretty bad. Once they enter the environment, they don't go away and they have been associated with (even at very low levels) with immune system suppression, reproductive disorders, and a variety of cancers. Ick.

As for why you shouldn't buy new leather, well, the main reason is that the processing and dying of leather (esp. leather produced in developing countries) is very toxic. It's toxic to the people who work with it, but more importantly, many of these producers don't treat their hazardous waste appropriately, often just releasing it into the environment. So, your LLJ could potentially be destroying a once-serene part of China or Bangladesh, or, even Australia. You might say, wait, how come the governments over there don't fine these businesses or close them down? Well, many governments don't have the capacity (read: staff, money, technical knowledge) to monitor things like that. So it just happens. Also, producing leather is REALLY resource intensive. Check these (very generalized, yet they communicate the point) stats out: Most leather (about 66% of it) comes from cows, and it takes 8 acres of land, 12,000 pounds of forage, 125 gallons of gasoline & other petroleum derivatives for fertilizer, 2,500 pounds of corn, 350 pounds of soybeans, 1.2 million gallons of water & 1.5 acres of farmland (to grow the crops for feed), plus various insecticides, herbicides, antibiotics & hormones to grow one cow from an 80 pound calf to its full size, when it can be slaughtered and the hide harvested. Wow. Plus, the process of taking cow to leather jacket is just gross. Even if you don't actually care about cows and totally LOVE your cheeseburgers, it is still pretty disgusting the kind of chemicals they coat the leather with. Check out a description of it here.

So, the best thing, in the end, if you want a LLJ (um, and who doesn't), is to buy it vintage or secondhand. So, here are some options from Ebay (click on images to be taken to the bid page):

This is slightly similar to the one from Zara.

I love the hood!


Johanna said...

LOVE the second one. And the one with the hood. If I hadn't just gotten one myself, I would be all over both!

Kiki said...

Loved this post! Very informative, and I loved all the jackets!

Anonymous said...

good post!

Thought of your blog when I read:

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