You may be wanting to understand the different kinds of leather substitutes available. You might wonder how well each type of leather alternative stands up to the natural animal hides, but you find yourself confused. There are so many different terms concerning the faux leather products out there, that it’s hard to tell which one might be durable and which one might not. Here’s a small guide to help you understand each type of substitute available.
What is imitation leather?
Imitation leather, also known as artificial leather is a material created and designed to look and feel like real leather. It replaces the original animal hides in items such as upholstery, fabrics, shoes, and even clothing. The original is a favorite skin that’s inviting to people looking for a durable, soft, and overall comforting material for their everyday items. Since the original can come at a hefty price, the artificial one was manufactured to off-set those costs and make the same type of material at a more affordable cost. By implementing an alternative to the real one, imitation leather has saved money for many other companies that utilize it in their products. This kind of alternative skin material comes in many different types. This includes:
- Vegan Leather
- Synthetic Leather
- Vinyl Leather
- PU Leather
- What is vegan leather?
This vegan alternative to real leather is an excellent option for those wanting the feel and look of leather, but not at the cost that the original comes with. Typically, the vegan type of material is kelp or cork-based, in most cases. Some are made from polyvinyl, or polyurethane, which is a customizable fabric that many designers prefer. Some even showcase only vegan leather in their collections, utilizing different colors, and patterns to create dresses, jackets, or whatever they conjure up in their creative minds.
But, the options don’t stop there, though. You can also find this vegan alternative in purses, wallets, footwear, and other leather-covered items. Plus, there are even imitation leather seats in some of the most luxurious automobiles. Vegan leather shoes and boots are so well crafted, it’s not even noticeable that they’re not made from real leather; except for the price, of course.
Is PU leather vegan?
PU leather, otherwise known as polyurethane leather, is an alternative to real animal hide. So, it could be vegan. However, it’s not always the case. There are instances when genuine leather is coated with a polyurethane substance. Sometimes, that process is still called PU leather, so if buying a vegan alternative is essential to you, you’ll need to be aware of the differences when purchasing an item.
If shopping for a specific leather-like item, and it says that it’s PU leather, be sure to look at the label more closely. It should tell you that it’s 100% synthetic, or it may just say that it’s vegan right on the label itself. Real animal hide may not be mentioned, but check the tag anyway.
What is pleather?
Pleather became a popular term when it was used for sexy outfits and other accessories. It’s a poly-leather material constructed to look like the real animal hide. It has the same durability as the original but differentiates itself with its wrinkle-free appearance, and lightweight material. Plus, you can wear it in rainy weather without it getting ruined.
It’s fast becoming a popular choice for some prominent designers as it can be very customizable. Creating a poly-leather fabric enables one to design almost anything. Color-saturated, glittery-infused, and even some coated with a glossy sheen are only a few examples of what you can make from pleather material.
What is synthetic leather?
Grouped, as one of the different types of artificial substitutes, the synthetic leather is also known as
Poromeric. The Poromeric, a breathable leather alternative, is made from polyurethane, or other plastic coatings, bonded to a fibrous material, like polyester.
It’s considered to be more durable than the original leather. It’s resistant to scratches, scrapes, peels, and cracks that you typically see with the original animal hides. Fading of this material is not easy, and it can be resistant to many stains as well.
What is faux leather made of?
Faux leather is actually the name given to one of the many other types of leathers out there, like synthetic, PU, or fake leather materials. The term faux leather comes into play when describing the material other items are made out of. You’ll often see this term when shopping for things like sofas, chairs, covered headboards, clothing, and even the coverings of automobile seats. It’s a more intriguing sounding name then synthetic or fake leather, at least when it comes to selling the item to a consumer.
What is vinyl leather?
Vinyl is a type of synthetic leather that’s been around since the 1940s or so. It was used more often in shoes, automobiles, and upholstery. It’s one of the closest matches to real animal leather out there, at least as far as the look, and sometimes the feel goes.
The price is much lower than the original leather, though. Since animal hides were more difficult to process for creating materials, it would come with an expensive price tag. Vinyl, on the other hand, could be easily mass-produced in factories, so the overhead costs were much lower. The item, with the vinyl leather, could be sold for far less than the original hides would bring in.
What is leather air fabric?
Leather air fabric, believe it or not, is a type of fabric and not really a kind of leather. It was created around 2012 and is meant to look and feel like leather upholstery. But, this breathable fabric is much more affordable than even some of the faux leather options.
This leather-like fabric was created to replace bonded leather, which was not standing up to wear and tear like other faux leather materials. It would often confuse consumers who thought they were getting real animal hide material, only to find a cheaper version breaking down not too long after purchase.
Faux / Imitation Leather Infographic