WHAT IS VEGAN LEATHER AND WHY IS EVERYONE TALKING ABOUT IT

Updated: Jun 13

Everything you need to know about Vegan Leather (Synthetic Leather), how it's made, it's impact on the economy and the environment.


A recent report published by Infinium Global Research on the vegan leather market estimated the market for vegan leather will reach up to 89.6 billion by 2026

Vegan leather fabric is a material that looks and feels like leather but is made from artificial or plant-based materials rather than animal hides.


In this article, we will be focusing on artificial/synthetic materials. For information about Plant based vegan leather please refer to our next article - https://www.saladienterprises.com/blog/categories/vegan-leather


 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SYNTHETIC LEATHER AND REAL LEATHER

VEGAN LEATHER

REAL LEATHER

100% Animal cruelty free

Made with Animal skins

Uniform finish throughout

Can have Visual Imperfections

Usually lasts for 2-4 years

​last for 10 to 20 years or longer

Vegan Leather can Melt and Emit Toxic Substances with Fire Exposure

Real Leather Is Naturally Heat And Fire Resistant

​Vegan Leather can get structurally damaged with too much Form Manipulation

​Real Leather can Stretch and Shrink Naturally

Cheaper than real leather

More Expensive than synthetic leather

Unbreathable fabric

Breathable fabric

WHAT IS FAUX LEATHER / SYNTHETIC LEATHER?


Faux leather also known as synthetic leather is a petroleum based alternative to genuine or real leather.

According to PETA, it is most typically created from two different synthetic polymers: polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). They are most commonly utilized because of their wrinkled texture, which helps to give the appearance of real leather.


Good quality PU or PVC leather is a resilient, flexible, and durable fabric that can be easily used in a variety of products.



 



PU LEATHER

PU Leather, also known as synthetic leather, it's an imitation of real leather.

100% PU leather is completely artificial and is considered vegan.


PU leather fabric is made by applying or laminating a 100% polyurethane finish to a base material. Typical base materials include polyester, cotton, nylon, or rayon. A roller applies an artificial grain pattern to the surface to imitate the look of genuine leather.

Polyurethane is waterproof and softer & lighter than real leather and can be dry cleaned and torn easily than real hides. It also remains unaffected by sunlight. In addition, it is an eco-friendly substitute for vinyl-based products as it does not emit dioxins.



 

PVC LEATHER



PVC leather, also known as polyvinyl chloride, is an original type of imitation leather that is produced by substituting the hydrogen group with a chloride group in the vinyl groups.


PVC leather fabric is made by combining polyvinylchloride with stabilizers (to protect), plasticizers (to soften) and lubricants (to make flexible), and then applying to a base material. Again, the base materials are typically polyester, cotton, nylon, or rayon.


Polyvinyl chloride was the first type of fake leather to be created in the 1920s.




PROPERTIES

PU LEATHER

PVC LEATHER

Structure

PU has less layers, making it more pliable and flexible to work with.

PVC has more layers underneath its coating, making it tougher and more durable.

Breathability

more breathable

less breathable

Durability

3-5 years

​More durable than PU Leather

​Unique feature

looks realistically leather-like

can stand more extreme wear and weather condition


 

THE GROWING DEMAND OF VEGAN LEATHER IN THE INDUSTRY


In the last few years, the prices of traditional leather have increased constantly worldwide, which, in turn, has boosted the demand for cost-effective alternatives such as vegan leather.


A recent report published by Infinium Global Research on the vegan leather market estimated the market for vegan leather will reach up to 89.6 billion by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 48.1%, in the forecast period (2019-2026).


The report notes that soaring demand for vegan or faux leather is driven by a range of factors, which include evolving consumer trends, mounting concerns over the impact of traditional leather on the environment, ascending demand for animal-free products, and rising awareness regarding the attributes of vegan leather, among others.


The global synthetic leather market size was valued at USD 31.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8% from 2021 to 2028.

The PU synthetic leather segment led the global market accounting for the largest revenue share of more than 59% in 2020.

The footwear segment led the market accounting for the highest revenue share of more than 32% in 2020. Globally increasing product demand from the footwear sector is expected to be a key factor propelling the overall market growth.


The bags and wallets segment is also estimated to have significant growth over the coming years due to high product demand. The product usage enables the development of lightweight, breathable, scratch- & water-proof, and easy-to-maintain bags. With the evolving textile technology, consumers are preferring vegan fashion, which refers to adopting non-leather products.



 

IS FAUX LEATHER SUSTAINABLE?

When it comes to sustainability, faux leather has its pros and cons. Faux leather may be more eco-friendly than traditional or genuine leather. The production takes up less resources but a lot of chemicals and petroleum are involved in the making of faux leather.


PU (polyurethane) faux leather has some environmental benefits over PVC faux leather, specifically because it doesn’t produce dioxins, and doesn’t need additional plasticizers.

PVC faux leather has a range of its own potential environmental issues to consider, such as using a range of chemicals to make it (plasticizers being one example), and also having the ability to release toxins and harmful compounds when it’s disposed of (phthalates can leach from it in the environment), or burnt (dioxins can emit from it when burnt).


When you consider the negative environmental impact—extracting fossil fuels and using chemicals, non-natural dyes, and excessive amounts of water to create a non-biodegradable plastic leather—the environmental friendliness of faux leather is a bit concerning.






 

SALADI (a fashion manufacturing house) offers a wide range of variety of real leather and vegan leather including plant based leather (like tomato leather, pineapple leather, Coconut water leather etc.) For more information about all these types of leather check out our other blogs https://www.saladienterprises.com/blog and to connect with us, click- https://www.saladienterprises.com/contact

 
SOURCES USED: REAL VS VEGAN LEATHER FAUX LEATHER QUALITY VEGAN LEATHER





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