Vegan leather, also known as faux leather, has been in use in various forms for years, particularly for the making of handbags. Those days are mostly gone when the faux leather used to be flimsy, cheap, and packed with dangerous substances.
With the advancement in technology and the invention of PVC material, the market becomes full of a wide range of high-quality accessories made of vegan leather. Let's first know what exactly vegan leather is.
What is Vegan Leather?
Vegan leather looks like real leather but it is not made from animal skin. They are made from a variety of synthetic materials like plastic, plant materials, or cork. The most commonly used synthetic material to produce vegan leather is polyvinyl chloride or polyurethane. Both of them are plastic-based materials. Some people also use the term “pleather” to define vegan leather, which is derived from plastic leather.
How is vegan leather made?
Vegan leather is produced using synthetic materials and chemicals by undergoing a detailed industrial process of manufacturing and tanning. The resulting material exactly looks like real animal leather. The manufacturing process involves bonding the plastic and plan fabric into a covalent bond giving it a natural finish. The eco-friendliness of the product is based on the type of plastic used as well as the vegan coating.
Vegan Leather becoming more prevalent in the fashion industry
The fashion industry is the main target for vegan campaigners to help improve the well-being of animal's rights while refining the standards of the fashion industry as well as reducing environmental impact. It results in many brands switching to vegan leather alternatives. A lot of animal-sourced materials are used in the fashion industry including fur, silk, cotton, and feathers. Many designers now choose an ethical, vegan lifestyle and use synthetic leather to create different products. Vegan activists are protesting to entirely eradicate the use of animal materials from the industry, that’s why vegan leather is gaining increasing popularity in the fashion industry. The alternative leather used is just as good as real animal leather, if not better.
The durability of Vegan Leather
Just like original leather, vegan leather comes in a variety of quality standards, and the higher the quality of vegan leather, the longer it will last. Generally, faux leather is much cheaper and inferior quality as compared to original leather, even high standard faux leather is not quite great.
Generally, synthetic leather is less durable as compared to real animal leather and is used to thinner so it is quite common for it to tear or scratch with time. How durable the vegan leather depends on the material employed in the making process.
Alternatively, natural vegan leather is as durable as original animal leather. They usually last longer and are not likely to scratch or crack with ease. It offers the same finish just like real leather which ultimately provides personality and character to the final product.
Quality of vegan leather
Vegan leather looks exactly like real animal leather in terms of quality and finish. It is very difficult to distinguish between real leather and top-quality vegan leather. Many brands create the best quality vegan leather products that come with the finest finish. Further, the vegan leather comes with high-quality environment-friendly polythene; it can work well and can be used seasons after seasons.
Environmental impact of vegan leather
Vegan leather is also called faux leather as it is not made from natural animal skin. It is beneficial for animal activists but not for the human and environment. It is because the plastic used to produce synthetic leather contains high levels of toxins. The production and dumping of PVC based products give rise to harmful dioxins, which can cause reproductive and developmental issues and even lead to cancer. The plastics involved in the manufacturing of vegan leather are unable to degrade completely in the environment. They can be broken down to some extent and release toxic phthalates hence affecting human and animal health as well as the environment.
Difference between vegan leather and real animal leather
Some of the important factors to consider while comparing real and vegan leathers are durability and quality. Vegan leather is usually thinner and lightweight as compared to real leather which is ideal for fashion as it is easier to carry. However, these qualities make them less durable when compared with real leather. Real leather made from animal skin is long-lasting whereas faux leather might not last as long as the real one. Synthetic leathers are susceptible to wear and tear with time; however, real leather is more durable and crack proof. Another important thing is, real leather has pores that allow the skin to breathe, whereas plastic-based vegan leather is not breathable. Synthetic leather can be uncomfortable for clothing items when worn for longer.
Maintenance of vegan leather
We know that vegan leather comes with a plastic coating, so we can easily tell that it is waterproof. This quality makes it easy to clean with the help of gentle detergent or wiping with a moist cloth. However, this coating doesn’t allow any cleaning product to penetrate and prevent cracking to happen, in case if it is exposed to the sun for a long time or it is bad quality leather. However, there are some products available that you can use to hide the plastic surface to avoid exposure to sun rays and high temperature and prevent cracking. Such products also help soften the leather.
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