Nov 15th 2010 1:18AM [we can have all the texture and beauty of ostrich ]
Rigel, PVC ostrich print have nowhere near the look nor feel of genuine ostrich leather. The shine is all wrong and the silky touch is replaced by a cold, hard, plastic feel. Do yourself a favor and inspect the real thing, then comment again.
[but with a cheaper price tag]
Exotic leather is expensive because it is scarce and difficult to produce. There is no real physical, chemical or other attribute that make it better than say sheep skin. The desire to own exotic leather is linked to this scarcity. Exotic, because it is not common. This feeds the exclusivity, the desire for the middle class to also own it, yet they cannot afford it. If it was cheap and in abundance, it would not have this attraction, now would it, and the desire for both rich and poor would be gone. What can be more common than PVC?
[no need to sacrifice a real bird]
Ostriches use to be slaughtered for their skins, but it is now a multi use farm product with the skin only contributing about 40% to the total income of the bird to the farmer. By stopping the use of leather, the real bird will still be "sacrificed" as you put it, and the skin will go to another use or to a waste dump with known results, so no need to substitute leather products with PVC to appear green.
BTW, have a look at the production cycle of PVC. You might be surprised, or I'd say rather shocked from a green point of view. To get certain properties additives are added to PVC, additives the leather industry discarded years ago as being a health risk. The Japanese car manufacturers have stopped using PVC in cars since 2007 on health ground.
When one wants to be green it is rather difficult to balance one's different consumption streams. To say that using a PVC handbag and not an ostrich leather one is like putting a pinup of a nice car in your garage to impress others but doing the green thing by walking to work. One still have the looks but, ......... :-O