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  • Writer's picturePeter Smith

Lets talk Vegan

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

vegan leathers
Faux Leather

This is really a misnomer, since vegan leather is not made from animal hides or skins.


Vegan leather and faux leather are essentially a man-made or plant based material made to look like leather.


Another term for fake leather is “pleather” which comes from the term plastic leather. Therefore, these types of material are not leather but man-made plastics.

Lets talk Vegan

Lets talk vegan is a short article describing what vegan leather is and some of the differences between real and vegan leathers.


Materials used

A range of materials are used to make these leathers, including synthetics like plastic and natural materials such as cork.

Synthetic materials

The most commonly used materials for synthetic leathers are polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane (PU). Even apple leather has 50% PU in it. 70 million barrels of oil are used to make polyester every year.

Natural materials

Apple Skin is another leather alternative made from fruit - more specifically from the skin and core waste recovered from the food industry.

Concerns

These two commonly used synthetic materials in particular have raised questions about the safety and dangers of vegan leather to the environment. Very few vegan leathers are made from natural materials although it is possible to find more eco friendly products made from materials like cork, kelp and even pineapple leaves.


Development of natural materials​

Fruitleather, Mylo mushroom leather, grape leather, and lab-grown leather from Modern Meadow are not available yet for brands to buy and use. They’re all still being developed, tested, and piloted. They’re not ready yet for fashion or leather replacement and some may never be.

Piñatex is a plant-based “leather” made from waste pineapple fibres. It’s pretty sustainable, and increasingly popular for vegan fashion lines, however the coating on Piñatex is actually petroleum-based and not biodegradable.

Durability

Faux leather does not last as long as real leather. It will crack or de-laminate or peel, especially in adverse weather.


These faux leathers also don't have the durability of real leather.



Comparison between leather and vegan leather
Comparison between leather and pleather

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