Animal-free, imitation designer leather hide.
Furniture and fashion accessory designers that are looking to replicate the look and feel of leather with realistic alternatives now have more options as the push towards animal-free products grows stronger. Real leather has long been associated with quality, durability, and luxury. Luckily, thanks to innovative textile manufacturers, comparable synthetic options are abundantly and readily available.
What Is Vinyl and Vegan Leather?
Vinyl is a synthetic fabric made of ethylene derived from natural gas and chlorine, having a plastic face and, for the most part, a fabric or mesh back. Vinyl comes in a variety of types, textures, weights, and finishes and covers a wide range of uses, from automotive, marine, furniture, and fashion to industrial and institutional applications.
Vegan Leather is the more politically correct, on-trend term to reference alternative or faux leather, that speaks to animal advocates. It also encompasses a variety of types for many applications.
Leatherette is a synthetic material made from vinyl or some type of plastic. You may also hear leatherette referred to as faux leather, fake leather, synthetic leather, alternative leather, or pleather. It generally denotes a lighter weight.
Pleather is made from oil in the form of plastic – either PVC or PU polyurethane. Pleather is simply a slang term for “plastic leather”, made by bonding the plastic to a fabric backing. The fashion industry has embraced it for its versatility and pliability.
Microsuede / Ultra suede is a soft synthetic fabric that is meant to mimic genuine leather suede. Depending on its finish, it can also be stain-resistant and UV resistant.
Features and Benefits
Faux leather offers a number of advantages compared to real leather. These would include the following:
Economical – Faux leather is typically much more affordable than real leather.
Durable – Faux leather is very durable and will last a long time. It can withstand scratches and scrapes that would mar genuine leather. It is not prone to crack or peel like leather and is used in industrial and commercial applications.
Low Maintenance – Faux leather materials can usually be wiped clean with a rag and warm water. Unlike genuine leather, it does not retain moisture, so faux leather items will not become warped or cracked. Some of the new performance faux leathers can remove ink, liquid, and food stains with only a dry cloth.
High Performance – Faux leather materials are usually designed and meant for rigorous commercial applications that traditional fabrics cannot perform.
Realistic Replica– Faux leather has been modified and improved with variations in grain, color, and textures to reflect a visual appearance with realistic leather quality.
Uniform Appearance – Faux leather will provide a uniform look since all the pieces come from the same stock.
Fashion Forward – Faux leathers can also be printed providing an enormous variety of textures and patterns. In addition, because faux leather is a synthetic material, it can be dyed a rainbow of colors. This fashion-forward approach allows for more freedom when decorating residential or commercial interiors.
Waterproof / Weatherproof – Faux leather will not fade as easily in ultraviolet (UV) light and is water and stain-resistant.