This Toronto Maker is Making Sustainability Moves

How Anna Peng Of Double Cow Is Giving Leather Scraps A New Lease On Life—and People Along With Them 

Double Cow

It's no longer a secret that the sustainability efforts of the fashion industry are, shall we say, not ideal. From being the second top polluting industry to the shady labour practices and toxic environmental impacts, it's becoming rapidly clearer that fashion—the way it is now—isn't good for people or the planet. 

Sustainability in fashion is a cause that I feel pretty connected to—not only because I like clothes (haha)—but because it's so integrated into our daily lives and a lot of it is just becoming more aware of the fact that the system is broken and making moves (no matter how small) to change that. 

Double Cow is one such initiative. Founded by Anna Peng, it's her way of making an environmental effort to divert leather from landfills and turn cutoffs into awesome keychains. 

Double Cow

Even just a light dive into research on the reality of the fashion industry can produce some shocking results. This article, which inspired Anna, details how leather is killing the people and places that make it. We're not cavemen anymore, the writer says— but we might even be worse off. 

There are over 100,000 tons of leather waste thrown away in landfills each year. When leather becomes a part of our landfills, all of the chemicals that go into its tanning process—such as acids, salts, and dye—leech back out into our ecosystems, polluting our land and water. With Double Cow, Anna is raising awareness for what we consume in terms of material waste. 

"Leather is such a durable, natural, and overall beautiful material that it kind of hurts to see small but usable scraps of it go to waste," says Anna. "In response to that, I decided to go around to businesses and designers around Toronto and collect their leather cutoffs, and create something new out of it." 

The Double Cow Etsy shop is filled with a variety of cute animals—elephants, giraffes, crocodiles, and of course, the classic cow. Anna was kind enough to send me the Classic Crocodile in Dark Chocolate, who I've named Kyle, for no apparent reason. He's very well-made and soft as well as durable, as leather should be. I currently have him hanging out on my work lanyard and it's a nice cheery touch whenever I tap into the office, ahha. 

When Anna reached out to me to do a post on Double Cow, I was super happy to do it, not only because of the whole sustainability in fashion thing, but because I think this is what we should be moving forward to—a circular economy where we are more conscious of our consumerism and we work with the whole process in mind, not just the end product. But perhaps that's a topic for another time. If you're interested in the concept of a circular economy, you can do some further reading here

Check out Anna's "digital pasture", as she calls it on the Double Cow Instagram and Etsy shop

Disclaimer: Featured products in this post were sent me for review. However, as always, all opinions are my own.