Vegan Leather 101

Vegan Leather 101

Posted by Lynda Lacayo on

If you're a fan of fashion trends, you've probably noticed how fashionable leather outerwear and handbags have become lately. But how do you keep up with the trends while staying environmentally conscious and animal friendly? Thanks to vegan leather, it's easier than ever to do both!

  • What is vegan leather?
  • Types of vegan leather
  • Tips and tricks for telling real leather from vegan leather

What is Vegan Leather

In its most basic form, we define vegan leather as any leather not made from an animal's skin. It wasn't that long ago that the term fake leather was almost taboo in the fashion industry. Companies made fake leather, now more commonly referred to as vegan leather, from a plastic-like material that was hot, too shiny, and didn't accurately pass for the real thing. Fortunately, the times have changed, and technology has come a long way in making vegan leather something to lust after!

Types of Vegan Leather

Companies can manufacture vegan leather from two types of materials: synthetic and natural. Synthetic leather can be made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane. Advances in technology have enabled vegan leather to mimic the look and feel of a variety of colors, textures, and designs that are nearly identical to authentic leather.

Vegan leather can also be made from natural materials such as cork, pineapple leaves, and recycled plastic. Although plastic-based forms of leather are animal-friendly, manufacturing practices can be damaging to the environment. Natural options like cork and pineapple leaves are a fantastic choice because they can create vegan leather products, but they're environmentally sustainable as well.

Farmers produce cork leather from the bark of the cork oak tree. In addition to being cruelty-free, the manufacturing process is more sustainable because the bark of the tree grows back after removal. Customers can find everything from shoes and purses to wallets and outerwear featuring cork leather.

Another vegan leather option we love is pineapple leaf leather, also known as Piñatex. This material is made from the fibers of the pineapple leaves discarded during harvesting and is available in a variety of colors and finishes. One of the many notable aspects of Piñatex is that it is natural, sustainable, and supports local farmers by providing income for an otherwise unusable waste product.


How to Tell Real Leather from Vegan Leather

With the increases in technology, it becomes harder to tell genuine leather apart from its faux counterpart. To ensure what you're purchasing is genuinely vegan leather, here are some quick tips and tricks to keep in mind:

  • Look at the tags! Even though it seems obvious, examining the item's tag is the first place to start.
  • Smell the fabric. Genuine leather has a distinct smell that some people say reminds them of wood chips or earthy smell.
  • Examine the backside of the material. Genuine leather typically has a rougher backing than vegan or faux leather.
  • Fold the material. Genuine leather folds gently and has a natural elasticity, while faux leather is more synthetic feeling and typically doesn't have any natural give to it.
  • Research the brand. Many famous brands have had scandals involving the way they market their leather outerwear and accessory products, especially if they attempt to pass genuine leather as vegan leather. A quick search can tell you if the brand you're looking at has a troubled history with marketing its leather goods.

Choosing vegan leather accessories like belts, crossbodies, and totes is a fantastic, affordable, and sustainable option for looking great! Jules Kae has a wonderful selection of incredible vegan leather products, including hand sanitizer keychains, credit card holders, clutches, and more. Shop the Jules Kae website to explore their selection!

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