At Hare+Hart, we want you to know exactly how our products are made, so we advocate a transparent production process. Many brands claim to be eco-friendly without giving an explanation as to how or why. We try to be as eco-friendly as possible, but we will also explain the aspects of our production process that are less so. We believe in educating you and in being open and honest about the clothing line we offer.
The first step in creating one of our products is choosing the leather. Unfortunately, there is no leather currently on the market for clothing that is completely eco-friendly. The leather needed for clothing needs to be thin so that it can move with your body. This requires the leather to be strengthened during the tanning process. Tanning with chromium sulfate or an aldehyde (a family of toxic chemicals) is the only way to achieve this. Skipping the tanning process is, unfortunately, not an option since it prevents the leather from decomposing.
We are currently working with tanneries to develop methods that do not use these chemicals, and we are designing handbags, wallets and belts (which use thicker leather that does not need to be strengthened) that are vegetable tanned for upcoming seasons. Vegetable tanning utilizes tannins (a type of organic substances found in tea and wine) derived from vegetable matter, tree bark and other natural ingredients to treat and stain the leather.
When choosing leathers, we select Argentine leathers that are a by product of the beef industry and come from a tannery that sources 85% of its leathers from grass-fed free roaming cows. This is a common practice in Argentina where there is lots of land on the pampas (fertile lowland plains) for cattle grazing. This yields a healthier hide and also prevents marring as the animals don’t run into the many barriers that contain the animals in feed lots. We also often use goats (kid skin), which are a staple part of the Northern Argentine diet.
After tanning, the leather is dyed and then finished with a wax to help protect the leather and preserve the color.
It is important for us to use eco-friendly materials whenever possible in our products. We choose to line our jackets with acetate, a biodegradable fiber made from wood pulp, because it is readily available in Argentina. Our handbags are lined with organic cotton.
We currently manufacture with small factories in Argentina and the Garment District of New York. It is important for us to support the industries in which we live. Because we choose to work with smaller and more artisanal manufacturers, our products are all handcrafted. Although this does not yield the same flawlessness and consistency as products produced in large factories by machines, we hope that you appreciate and value the human touch that is apparent in all Hare+Hart items.