The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Leather

Vegan leather is the alternative to traditional leather – some call it pleather which means plastic leather. It’s made from polyurethane or polyvinyl chloride – no animal products. Today, you can find vegan leather shoes, bags, billfolds, handbags, etc. Here is the ultimate guide to vegan leather.

How vegan leather is made?
The leather bonds together a plastic coating to a fabric. Also, it uses different chemicals and follows a unique industrial process. And this is what determines whether it’s eco-friendly or not.

Most people opt for PU (slightly damaging plastic) as it reduces the flaws like hazardous toxins.

Is vegan leather environmentally friendly?
Since the leather is not from animal skins, it’s beneficial to animal activists. But here is the thing. Plastics contain toxins that are harmful to the environment. Furthermore, synthetic products don’t fully biodegrade – break down to a certain degree. If you’re environmentally conscious, you ought to know that vegan leather is more damaging than the real one.

Which one is better: vegan or real leather?
One of a few things to consider when comparing vegan vs. real leather is durability. Vegan leather is lightweight and thinner, which makes it less durable. A product made from real leather can last for decades, but the vegan counterpart can only last for one or two years.
Real leather also excels in terms of breathability. But the PVC-based leather is not breathable. So clothing made from the latter tends to be uncomfortable when worn for a specific time.

You can clean vegan leather with a mild detergent or wipe it with a damp cloth. The only downside is that conditioning products cannot penetrate to stop cracking. Nevertheless, you can get some products to cover the surface and prevent it from high temperatures.

Can you distress vegan leather?
While you may be tempted to create a distressed effect on leather, this can crack the top level. Some solvents can also eat away the pleather.

Unlike real leather, stretching increases the risk of cracking, so you should avoid it altogether.

Can you unwrinkle vegan leather?
A general rule of thumb is never to place an iron on vegan leather. It has plastics in it, so heat can ruin the product completely. But there’s a caveat to this. High-quality faux leather can be steamed to remove wrinkles. This makes it much more forgiving against heat. Avoid using heat on vegan leather for more than 30 seconds.

Softening vegan leather
Vegan leather is less permeable than traditional leather. However, many vinyl conditioning products have very little impact to soften the material. Be sure to remove the excess conditioner when cleaning the products.

There’s a long way to go, but certainly heading in the right direction.