A dear friend & yoga instructor, Chris, gave me this fantastic vintage women's racing suit - it's about 35 years old, leather and has all the shoulder, back, hip and knee armor in it. It fits me perfectly - and, aside from a few high stress points where threads are occasionally going out (near the zipper bottom on the jacket front, first the left, then the right) and the failure of the pants zipper -- I imagine I'll be wearing this for a very long time.
As a vegan and as someone who tries to be "green", I do not buy new leather. The processing of leather is toxic -- cruel both to animals and to the people working in the industry. Regardless of what people may think, leather is not strictly a by-product of the meat industry.
However, as someone who believes in re-using and re-cycling, I don't think it makes sense to purge your wardrobe of every animal product. What good will that do? The animal has already suffered -- and truly, I cannot afford to buy a new motorcycle suit and it makes little sense to jettison 12 year old cashmere sweaters (it's all I can do to keep the moths off of them). I will continue to hang onto my old leather coats - and shoes - and wear them until they completely fall apart or I find a new homes for them with people who can give them better use.
How do you reconcile your concerns for animal with your concerns for the environment where they intersect and may conflict?