Cruelty-free lifestyle brand 36 Chambers — which was co-created by vegan Wu-Tang Clan member RZA — just launched vegan banana leather wallets.
The limited-edition collection includes two styles: bi-fold and passport. 36 Chambers uses the fibers of banana trees to make the wallets.
The PETA-approved and water-resistant wallets feature a cloud camouflage and bamboo tree print. The design is a nod to Japanese forest spirits and the East Asian country’s bamboo forests.
36 Chambers Goes Vegan
RZA and Mustafa Shaikh created 36 Chambers in 2016. The brand launched its first line of vegan wallets that year. The following year, 36 Chambers removed the leather and other animal products from its items.
In a 2016 blog post, Shaikh explained, “We have various reasons for why we forgo animal leather. For RZA, it has to do with animal cruelty first and foremost. Speaking for myself, the deleterious environmental effects of raising animals (in particular cattle) is what drew me into looking more into vegan leather options.”
Shaikh explained that plant-based leather is “promising” because it’s biodegradable. Plastic-based leather takes around 500 years to break down, and animal leather decomposes in 50.
Shaikh addressed the belief that leather is a by-product of the meat industry. He highlighted that 10 percent of a cow’s worth comes from its skin, making it the most valuable part of the animal on a pound-for-pound basis.
“Thus, we should consider skin as a primary product of a cow such as the sirloin or rib. When farmers are deciding whether or not to raise cattle livestock, the price of the cow’s skin is taken into consideration,” he said.
“We need to take the same approach when purchasing a leather-based item; buying an animal leather wallet is the same as buying a steak at the market,” the entrepreneur added.
The Wu-Tang Clan and Veganism
RZA has long been a vocal proponent of the vegan movement. In 2014, he told PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) that there’s nothing “on this planet that doesn’t want to live.”
“I’m quite sure [animals] do not wanna be on my plate… When you eat [animal products] you’re eating that stress, eating that sickness, eating that fear,” he said.
RZA isn’t the Wu-Tang Clan’s only vegan-minded member; eight of the group’s ten members are now vegan. Several members of the hip hop group even appeared in a campaign for White Castle’s Impossible Sliders, which are made with plant-based beef patties.