Have you heard of vegan leather? Everyone is talking about it, and you must be wondering what is all the hype around it. Vegan leather is alternative leather that does not use animal material such as skin. In the simplest terms, vegan leather is any animal-free material that imitates the real or “normal” leather. High-quality vegan leather can barely be distinguished from authentic leather.
Vegan leather and faux leather or, at times, plastic leather are the same things. What if not the skin of dead animals? There is a range of materials that can be used to make vegan leather, both natural and non-natural or synthetic.
Synthetic vegan leather
The most common vegan leather you will come across in the market is a polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PU is a versatile polymer that is commonly used in recent years. PVC, on the other hand, was more popular in the ’60s and ’70s but lost its popularity because of its sticky nature and lack of durability. Pu can be used in manufacturing designer accessories and items.
The manufacturing process of synthetic vegan leather involves the bonding together of a plastic coating to a unique fabric base. The types of chemicals and plastics used in the coating process are what defines whether it will be eco-friendly or not. PVC is more damaging to the environment, but there are a few cases where it’s necessary to use.
Natural vegan leather
The materials used in making natural vegan leather are diverse creative, and attractive. They include:
Pineapple leather (pinatex) – this vegan leather is made from pineapple leaves fibers that are discarded by industries that use pineapple as a raw product. The leaves are stripped off the fiber, which is used in making the leather alternative.
Cork leather – this is the best natural real leather replacement. Cork leather is made from the bark of cork oaks to come up with unique, fashionable, and reasonably durable leather. What you will love about cork leather is that it’s waterproof.
Muskin- this leather material is made from a mushroom, something we find very interesting. Muskin is very soft to touch. In terms of appearance, it closely resembles leather suede.
Wood leather – this is the newest member of the family and innovation. Some would describe wood leather as a debut in fashion. This technology was first discovered in Italy, where they use some kind of particular trees to Crete this vegan leather. The American walnut is one of the few suitable trees that can be used in making the leather alternative. The vegan leather can be used in making very eye-catching attire.
Waxed cotton – the process of making waxed cotton is fascinating. This vegan leather is made by soaking cotton in beeswax and then weaving it into cloth. Waxed cotton is the oldest vegan leather. Since some insist that it’s not adequately vegan since it uses beeswax, experts have, over the years, improved it by the use of paraffin.
Vegan Leather Hype!
What is all the fuss about? We cannot exhaust the benefits of vegan leather. The most important one, however, is its environment friendly. It might come as a surprise, but the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry after the gas and oil industry. I bet you never thought of that as you carried your designer bag. The good thing with vegan leather is that it is environmentally friendly.
The manufacturing process of real leather involves a long chain of processes before it becomes a final product. The industry of leather making has turned far away from the traditional leather-tanning, which was safe to use hazardous substances to increase production and cut costs. Tanneries are said to release at least 50 million liters of extremely toxic water. Only 20% of this water is usually treated, and the other is let to flow freely into farmlands, and the effect on people, animals, and the environment is detrimental.
Vegan leather is also a cheaper alternative to real leather. However, you can expect designers to exaggerate the price. The cleaning process of vegan leather is also very easy. Since this leather-alternative is stain-resistant, you can clean your shoes or jacket or bag using pure soap and water.
Vegan leather does not smell. However, with the synthetic alternatives, you may experience occasional lousy smell because of the chemical composition and the manufacturing process of these plastics. The alternative leather also comes with a wide range of alternatives since there is a wide range of materials that can be used. Vegan leather is also open to dying and manipulation, which can result in unique pieces.
So, is vegan leather all good? Of course not! Vegan leather has its share of downsides. For instance, making synthetic leather is not as easy as we would like. The manufacturing process involves the release of harmful dioxins into the air. Also, when these synthetics are left to resolve, they release chemicals such as phosphates and bisphenol a which contributes to cases such as cancer. These plastics also take almost five millenniums to disintegrate completely.
Is vegan leather durable?
Vegan leather is a lot of things, but durable is not one of them. Vegan leather often tends to be a lot thinner than real leather. While this factor makes it very easy to work with, it’s also its downfall. If you have owned something which was made out of real leather, you know that it lasts for decades when well taken care of. It may have even been an inheritance from your grandparents because genuine leather is rather durable.
The thing with vegan leather is that it can only give a year or so of service even with great care. Well, unless you are using the accessory or wearing the shoes once or twice in a month. The lightweight feature of vegan leather makes it an excellent fashion accessory, but it makes it less durable the excellent news is, vegan leather is not harmful to the environment.
The natural vegan leather like the one made from pineapples and corn disintegrates to humus when disposed of, while items that are made from PU can be recycled to preserve the environment. The other thing you may want to consider while talking about durability is the fact the items made from vegan leather tend to wear out very unattractively. Real leather, on the other hand, ages over wine, like wine. Research has shown that as real leather ages, it produces a substance called patina which adds to the value of the leather.
Even though vegan leather is not exactly durable, some practices can increase its life. Since vegan leather is already waterproof, so cleaning is effortless. You can clean vegan leather by wiping with clean cloth and water. You should also avoid drying your vegan leather items in direct sunshine since they cannot be penetrated by conditioning products to protect them from drying up and cracking.
Also, when vegan leather starts to wear out, there are fantastic ways of repairing it. A faux leather repair kit comes in handy in such a situation. This kit can be bought online. These kits are very easy to use as they do not need any expertise. You do not need to be a tailor or a stylist to make a simple repair. You can also let your creativity run wild in such a situation to come up with something beautiful or a complete recreation instead of allowing your fav vegan leather go.
Vegan leather brands
Vegan leather brads are rising as the day goes by as vegan leather grows into a rising star in the world of fashion. Did you know that the vegan market is expected to contribute at least $85 billion to the economy by 2025? Well, those are the statistics cited by the grand view research data as more and more people are becoming more aware of this great alternative to animal leather.
Brands and More Brands…
Vegan leather has many uses ranging from making clothing, shoes, accessories, car interiors, and even furniture. You may be seated in a vegan leather chair, but you did not realize it! Vegan brands are, therefore, many thanks to the many uses. Some common leather brands include:
Stella McCartney – of course, Stella McCartney is one of the most popular vegan leather brands. If you are trying to remember where you have come across the name, it must be from the Adidas partnership, which saw these two brands launch vegan stan smith shoes. Their vegan sneakers are a great place to start your journey in vegan leather.
Dr. Martens – this is the go-to brand for all designs of vegan leather shoes. The most impressive for me has to be their range of faux leather classic boots.
Altiir – if you don’t own a vegan leather jacket, you don’t know where to get one. Altiir is popular for its gold and silver vegan leather jackets, which are made from pinatex.
James&Co – this is another common brand for vegan leather jackets. A vegan leather jacket can go with everything from a body-hugging dress to skinny jeans and floaty dresses. There is almost nothing that will look out of place with vegan leather. If you are looking for some quality vegan leather jacket, look no further. These two brands have everything!
Veja – this is a popular luxury shoe brand. Their sneakers are made from corn leather. Their collection of men’s shoes is also quite impressive.
Black swan Bali – I’m sure you are surprised as we are to find out that there is vegan leather jewelry. Amazingly, vegan leather does not stop at furniture, accessories such as belts and clothing. This brand is popular for using recycled rubber and tries to make a couple of pieces.
Laura Zabo – this brand has ensured that you are keeping it vegan even with your pooches. There is a great collection of dog collars and leashes from this brand. The brand also specializes in making a living out of rubber tires by making jewelry from them.
Brave gentleman – a vegan leather goes ahead to make an impression each time you walk into a room. This brand is known for some of the best vegan leather belts. This brand is popular for contributing to the red carpet look of a popular celebrity from Hunger wars. Apart from accessories, Brave gentleman who is based in Brooklyn, also produces vegan leather shoes from its signature material, Future-leather, which is an eco-friendly, Italian milled PU leather. You can expect nothing less than classic styles for all shoes and accessories for this brand.
Will’s Vegan shoes – this shoe brand boasts shoes which do not get ruined when they get wet or rained on. They also do not stain! The brand is inspired by the need to bridge ordinary people and vegan leather. This London-based brand is always trending for producing shoes that are so close to the real thing while sparing the poor animals. The texture and aesthetics are very similar to the real, leather that you can almost not tell the difference. They have everything from dress shoes, official men’s shoes, cute baby boots, and suede sandals.
Doshi – we cannot forget about this popular brand, which specializes in vegan leather bags. The company’s goal is to provide a suitable leather alternative bags for professionals, travelers, students, name it. If you need fashionable and versatile leather accessories, this is the go-to brand. The brand based in California has a great collection of briefcases, messenger bags, backpacks, belts, and other accessories such as jewelry and watches.
That is pretty much everything you need to know about vegan leather and more! We are positive you have all you need the info you need on vegan leather. The bottom line is vegan leather has its flaws, but it lifts the guilt of wearing a beautiful jacket knowing an animal was killed or hurt. If you are one of the many guilt-laden people, vegan leather is a great, cruelty-free option you should try!