Radley bow lane leather handbag in Burgundy leather

UK style blogger Allie Davies in cream borg trucker jacket, black polo neck jumper, black raw hem cropped jeans and red burgundy Bradley handbag

As a vegetarian, I tend to stick to faux leather and suede when shopping. Especially over the past year or so, where I've made a conscious effort to buy faux over real leather. But as the world, and the blogosphere, switches focus to talk about ethics and sustainability, I've been debating which is better: real or faux leather? This might sound a bit daft coming from a veggie, because you'd assume I'd automatically go with faux leather any day, right? But thinking beyond the animals, and to the pollution of the environment, is it best to purchase a real leather bag that will last me 10 years, or a faux leather bag that will last me one or two?

This concept of real leather bags and shoes lasting longer is nothing new, and to be honest I've never really paid much attention to it, but with several pairs of boots falling apart lately, I'm beginning to believe it. Of course it isn't always the case, but in general, leather bags are made as a byproduct of meat. It's resources that would otherwise be going to waste. Faux leather bags, whilst they might feel like the moral high ground, (usually) require more chemicals and plastic in production, and usually end up in landfill a hell of a lot faster than their real leather equivalent. We all watched that episode of blue planet, we all want to cut down on how many plastic bottles we use, but what about the plastics in our wardrobe?

real vs faux leather debate: radley bow lane bag

UK style blogger wearing gold stacking rings and borg trucker jacket in ecru

The real vs faux leather debate is never black and white. I used to think it was, but I've learned that, as for everything in fashion, there is no right answer. There is no perfect consumer and nobody gets it right all the time. Even with this post, I'm not stating that real leather is the better choice in terms of sustainability,  I'm just pondering the question, sharing the thoughts that have been rattling around my brain these past few weeks. There's a lot to consider when deciding between real and faux leather: the source, the tanning process, the chemicals involved, the durability and what happens once you're done with it. Mother Jones and The Metro did interesting pieces on this if you'd like to know more.

Even if I do decide to go with real leather over it's vegan alternative, I'm by no means claiming to give faux leather up completely any time soon. I'm a fashion lover, I'm a sucker for new trends and I don't have the willpower to deny each and every bag that I see on the high street. I'm being honest with myself, I just can't do it, and I'm not going to beat myself up over it, either. I promised to myself that I'll think more about what I buy, considering who made it, why it costs that much, where it came from, what it's made of and how long it will last. That's all we can do, right? We're not superheroes, after all. I know many of you reading this will have struggled with this moral dilemma at one point or another, and might still be going through it. If you have thought about this before, I'd genuinely love to know your thoughts.

Liverpool fashion blogger outfit spring 2018

Burgundy leather bow lane handbag and washed red high top converse

Bradley handbag interior

This right here is my first Radley bag. I'd heard a lot of good things about the brand from friends and family over the years claiming their various purses and bags had lasted years. Thankfully, their designs are also timeless, meaning they're never thrown out of the wardrobe because they're not cool anymore (another sustainability debate right there). I'd been on the look out for a work bag for a while, and had been using my mum's faux leather Zara cross body for a while now, but the scratches were showing and it was just a little too small for my habit of carrying everything but the kitchen sink. This is the Bow Lane medium multiway bag* and the size is just perfect for everyday use. I can fit my purse, my notebook, a book to read on the train, some bits of makeup and my lunch, all with room spare.

I love the colour too. It's burgundy, but not too dark, like a berry burgundy, if you will. Perfect for adding a touch of colour to my often dark work outfits. Plus, it kinda matches my new converse, which I ummed and ahhed over for some time, but now can't seem to take off my feet. I'm just loving pops of red at the moment, no matter what the shade. It is my favourite colour, after all. If colour ain't your thing though, find this bag in black, too! I've got a feeling this Radley bag is going to stick around for a long time, and hopefully that will deter me from buying a new bag every two months or so.

UK fashion blogger spring summer 2018 outfit featuring radley bag

Radley London bow lane handbag ss18

cream borg jacket, black raw hem cropped jeans, washed red converse all star high top sneakers, Radley London burgundy handbag

Liverpool style blogger ootd

jacket River Island (similar on ASOS) - jumper Primark (old) - jeans Pull and Bear (similar on ASOS) - bag* Radley - converse ASOS - earrings* Happiness Boutique - best friend ring Monki - stacking rings* Happiness Boutique

What's your opinion on the real vs faux leather debate, and what do you focus on, animal rights or sustainability? Or both? I've really enjoyed talking to my fellow blogger pals about this lately, getting opinions from all sides. Speaking of which, massive thank you to Pingkan from Life of Pingkan for taking these snaps of me!

Good vibes guys ✌🏼

*This post contains affiliate links. Items marked with a (*) were gifted. All opinions are my own.