Vogue Questions Use of Leather by Nation’s Historical Figures

Fashion magazine says great thinkers like Leo Tolstoy and Susan B. Anthony would not have supported the animal product.


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In a recent feature inspired by the idea that great thinkers, historical characters, and famous vegetarians of the past would never go for leather, Vogue featured seven vegan handbags to show that animal-free fashion can still be chic. In the piece, writer Lynn Yeager poses the question of whether women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony, Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, civil-rights leader Mahatma Gandhi, Renaissance painter Leonardo da Vinci, and other historical figures would carry a leather bag. Yaeger answers her rhetorical question with “No way!” before explaining that “all these people, and many more—maybe you!—were vegetarians, and some were vegan.” Yaeger quoted Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein—“My food is not that of man; I do not destroy the lamb and kid to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford my sufficient nourishment”—to show how vegetarians have existed throughout history. This fresh angle for a roundup of cruelty-free handbags exposes Vogue’s readers to the less materialistic reasons for choosing vegan fashion.

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