Lees in het Nederlands
When we state that sustainability is part of our core mission, we don’t mean that sustainability is nice to have – we mean that for us there’s no other way.
We consciously design every bag to stand the test of time.
We strive for the shortest chain possible.
Our leather is tanned in Germany & Italy, our bags handmade in Italy and Portugal.
We exclusively work with residue leather from the meat industry.
Our tannery has a closed-loop-water system, collecting and reusing the wastewater from the tanning process.
We exclusively work with certified partners who can guarantee fair and safe working conditions.
We maintain personal relations with all of our partners and their teams and visit them regularly.
We avoid single-use plastics and only use recyclable packaging
We wrap your handbag in a dust bag from bamboo and a durable cotton tote bag.
We don’t do seasons or sale. We offer novelty at our own pace. We keep stock levels low.
We encourage our clients to drop off their bag for reparations.
As a future-oriented brand, sustainability is at the heart of our practice. We are very much aware of the environmental impact of our industry and commit ourselves to proving things can be done differently. A circular approach and continuous research regarding the next green solutions, are part of our daily scope.
WHY DO WE CHOOSE TO WORK WITH LEATHER?
Leather is a natural material that, if used properly, perfectly aligns with a circular approach. As long as animals are part of our menu, hides will be available. We make sure that these hides are given a second life. Used in a consciously designed product, qualitative leather lasts for many years and ages beautifully.
HOW SUSTAINABLE IS THE TANNING PROCESS?
Hides are turned into leather through a tanning process. This has an environmental impact on three levels through the use of chemicals, water and energy. The tanneries we partner with use a closed-loop system in which water is reused, waste and chemicals are limited and energy used optimally. Our partners Rigato in Italy and Hoffmann in Germany respectively hold a silver and golden certification from The Leather Working Group, a not-for-profit that carries out transparent eco-audits and gradually raises its standards. It continuously urges tanneries to keep improving the quality and impact of their production process.
WHAT'S NEXT? A VEGAN FUTURE?
At Lies Mertens we share the drive of our tanneries to gradually reduce our environmental impact. We are very much aware of the impact on both the environment and climate of our animal products and we are convinced of the need to reduce this. This is why we are researching vegan raw material options for our products. Synthetic leathers are often manufactured from petroleum derivatives such as PU or PVC. They have a large ecological impact, and are thus not a proper alternative for us. Therefore, we are carefully looking into new developments around natural alternatives for leather. By focusing on these innovations, we try to support this young sector and to contribute to a sustainable future.
HOW SHORT IS THE CHAIN?
To minimize the impact of transport we keep our chain as short as possible. We only work with European leather tanneries that source the majority of their skins in Europe. Our production process is completely European. Keeping this chain as short as possible doesn’t only lead to a lower eco-impact but also stimulates the European crafts industry and employment.
WHAT DOES FAIRLY MADE MEAN?
All of our bags are handmade. We work with a family of experienced leatherworkers in a town near Porto in Portugal with whom we’ve built a lasting trust relationship. Our atelier is run by two sisters, Ni and Christina. Both of them are very skilled craftswomen, involved in the production process from A to Z.
To guarantee fair working conditions, we only partner with like-minded partners. We regularly visit our production facility and can vouch for a both safe and fair working environment, with wages above the required minimum in Portugal.