The chief executive of Paris-based leathergoods brand Longchamp, Jean Cassegrain, has told Le Figaro that any brand claiming to offer ‘vegan leather’ is lying to the public.

In a recent interview, Mr Cassegrain told the newspaper that the term may sound on trend, but is “a lie”. He said the material in question is usually vinyl. “There is so much nonsense going around on this subject,” he said. He went on to extol the virtues of leather, saying it’s a renewable material and pointing out that cattle are never raised for their hides. He added that humanity will never use up nature’s capacity to produce the raw material required to make leather, something that we cannot say about materials deriving from fossil fuels. “Tanning has been an example of upcycling for 5,000 years,” Mr Cassegrain explained. “We take a waste product and turn it into something noble. There is this image of it as a polluting industry, even though, when there are serious companies in the leather industry, as we have in France, the wastewater that flows into rivers is cleaner than the water being pumped into people’s homes.”