Rarely does one put leather and eco-friendly fashion in the same sentence. Then came along Diamantina, a Washington, DC-based leather handbag company that righteously claims sustainability as its moniker.
“I’m not going to tell you that leather production is completely free of toxins. ” Claudia Diamante says about her leather handbags. “However, the leather we use comes from a sustainable cycle where our trusted Argentine producers treat their cows very humanely.”
Such statement raises a conundrum for vegan fashionistas. If the purpose for not wearing leather is founded on the treatment of animals, does the assurance that designers and apparel companies such as Diamante purport of ethical conditions take precedent?
Argentina, known for its quality leather, produces cowhide from cows raised for consumption and not leather products, per se. A cow’s diet consists of high quality vitamin and cereal mix and pesticide-free grass. For production, every part of the cow goes unwasted.
There are environmental implications in the tanning process, which includes vegetable tanning, as there are in the production of any synthetic product. Diamante counters the argument by saying, “The tanning process itself does not yield toxins, as in air pollution, however the by-products of the process can be toxic and it is up to the producers to ensure proper disposal of contaminants. The main reason this process is done is to toughen the leather to ensure our products longevity. That’s where we hope to make an ecological difference. By producing long lasting products through a humane unwasteful process.”
Diamante returns to her native Argentina bi-annually where she meets her design partner to discuss designs and manufacturer to survey working conditions and the production process.
Capitalizing on Argentina’s diverse geography and beauty, the Diamantina collection evokes luxury akin to the earth’s elements. The leather, fashioned from full grain, embossed, patent or suede, is complemented with detailed silver hardware, all hand-crafted by Argentinian artisans. The collection includes oversized handbags, hobos, and day and evening clutches.
“What we do is create beautiful handbags that will last you a lifetime,” Diamante says. Initially starting with leather jackets and handbags, the collection focuses on handbags and will expand to wallets in its spring/summer 2011 collection.
Visit the Diamantina Trunk Show this Saturday, August 28th at the Diamantina showroom (406 G Street NE, Washington, DC). RSVP, Claudia@diamantina.net.