Leather And Our Modern Society
Leather, due to its excellent ability to resist abrasion, found a use in different social occupations. The thoughts and images of cowboys in leather chaps historically wave way to men wearing leather jackets on motorcycles, to protect them from road rash and wind-blast, and aviators wearing leather helmets. Some motorcycle riders also wear chaps or full leather pants to protect the lower body. So many sports today still use leather to help in playing the game or protecting players (ie baseball, football, soccer, etc.). Due to the flexible nature of leather, it can be formed and flexed for whatever the occasion may be. As leather can also be used as a term for things made from it, the term leathering is also used in the same sense as tanning in the term "physical punishment" (such as a navy spanking) applied with a leather strap. Certain rock groups (ie, such as Scorpions and Judas Priest) are well known for wearing leather clothing. In our world today, many cars and trucks have the option of 'leather' seating. This ranges from cheap vinyl material, on low cost vehicles, to luxurious Napa leather, found in expensive cars.
Concern For Animals And The Alternative
Animal rights groups such as PETA have issued fact sheets calling for boycotts and encouraging the use of alternative materials, such as synthetic leathers. Some animal rights activists have boycotted the use of all leather items, believing the practice of wearing skins unnecessary in today's society. Many pseudo-leather materials have been developed. This allows those who wish to wear leather-like garments to do so without actually wearing leather. Examples of these would be vinyl materials, pleather, Durabuck, NuSuede, Hydrolite, and other alternatives. All of which provide some features similar to leather.
Synthetic leathers are generally made from oil and the ethical stage of using oil-based products seems to be ignored by most, even though it is well-known that the ecological damage and business practices associated with the oil industry are being questioned on a daily basis .
Leather is an inexpensive product that, when cared for properly, will last a long time and has a multitude of uses. Society will always move away from synthetics (oil-based) when it becomes apparent that it is no longer an inexpensive and viable source.