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Understanding the Different Types of Synthetic Leather

Synthetic leather is becoming more and more popular for clothing, upholstery, and crafts. 

Of course,  genuine leather is a tried and trusted material, many people are now questioning where their products come from. And hence,boosting the popularity of synthetic leather. 

What You Should Know About Synthetic Leather

Synthetic leather, also known as artificial leather, faux leather, and imitation leather, is a man-made material invented as an alternative for real leather. What some consider to be the first synthetic leather, called Presstoff, was first invented in Germany. This cost-effective and animal-friendly substitute has almost the same qualities as animal based leather.

It is a fabric that is synthetically manufactured and only utilises man-made materials. This means that non-vegan elements, like animal skins, are not involved in the process. If you prefer not to use animal products, synthetic leather is a great choice. 

Different Types of Synthetic Leather

Before it is ready to be used for anything, synthetic leather goes through several processes. Here are some of the ways synthetic leather is manufactured and different types of synthetic leather:

  • Plastic Leather. Synthetic leather made from plastic is among the most widely used and manufactured. Fabric is covered with coats of plastic to prepare this type of leather. You might notice its beautiful glossy appearance. Plastic leather is very durable, and it also does not fade. The sad part is that it’s not as skin-friendly as other materials, and it is hard to wash since it cannot be dry-cleaned.
  • Pineapple Leather. Also known as Piñatex, pineapple leather is an alternative option to leather made from pineapple leaf fibers. Since it’s a byproduct of harvesting fruit, there are no additional resources needed to make it, resulting in an added income stream for farmers. Piñatex can be used across fashion and accessories, as well as soft interiors and automotive applications.
  • Poromeric Leather. Poromeric leather is similar to plastic leather. It is a combination of different synthetic fibres that look and feel like traditional leather. A layer of polyurethane is coated on a layer of polyester fabric. The outcome is pretty absorbent and has a nice glossy polish. Like traditional leather, it is very durable and breathable. Many boots are made from poromeric leather.
  • Leatherette. This is a type of synthetic leather that utilises both plastic and fabric. The difference here is that the fabric can be natural or synthetic. This leather is really well-built and doesn’t require much maintenance. Just like the other synthetic leathers, this one doesn’t fade easily. You can see an example of leatherette in many cars nowadays. In the past, it was used in cameras and for bookbinding. This synthetic is not so breathable, making it unsuitable for clothing.
  • Banana Leather. As you can tell by the name, banana leather is made out of fibers of the banana plant stem—the same ingredients that are usually discarded. Contrary to popular belief, they’re not trash. They can be fashioned into a leather-like material, one  that is incredibly durable, waterproof, and biodegradable. 
  • Grape Leather. Another leather alternative derived from fruit is grape leather, which is developed by Italian company VEGEA. They have joined forces with winegrowing estates to recycle wine waste, preserving the marc of grapes, seeds, and skins. Everything that is not used in producing wine is recovered, then developed into leather made available to the fashion industry. 

So where does that leave us? 

There is a wide variety of synthetic leathers that are just as good as traditional leather. They are very durable, high-quality, and don’t need much maintenance. Synthetic leather is a fantastic choice for those who want cruelty free clothes and fixtures. It is also cheaper and easier to maintain.

Here at Buy Vegan, we help promote animal-free products that can form part of your lifestyle. From food to fashion, nutrition to body - finding vegan products is now easier with Buy Vegan. . Check out some vegan sandals from our fashion directory and even food, such as the best vegan cheese, from our food directory. Join now and sign-up to discover Australia’s best vegan products!

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