We all know that real leather is made from animal hide. It may or may not necessarily go through the natural tanning process but as long as your jacket's material is made of 'genuine' animal hide, it can be classed as real leather. However, real leather isn't the only leather type available. Faux leather, or in other words, as referred to by the elites these days, vegan leather, has become just as popular these days. The term 'vegan leather' has become a fancy marketing term in recent years but faux leather and vegan leather are essentially the same things. Like most things, vegan leather has its pros as well as cons.
As the name suggests, the manufacturing process of vegan leather, unlike real leather, does not involve the slaughtering of animals. The fact that it does not use any form of animal skin or hide, gives it the name faux leather (or vegan leather).
Some vegan leather items are. But not all of them. Again, this is down to the manufacturer and the practices that they wish to follow. Vegan material can be made with the help of natural materials such as kelp or pineapple leaves. This, however, adds to the manufacturing cost. Hence, most manufacturers avoid using natural materials in the manufacturing of vegan leather.
Several synthetic materials including multiple variants of plastic make this list. However, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane (PU) are the two materials that are right at the top of this list. This also explains the word 'pleather', a term used by some people in the clothing industry to describe vegan leather. Pleather is essentially the short form for plastic leather.
The process involves lots of chemicals, unlike the manufacturing process of real leather. The key is to bond a strong enough coating of PVC or PU to a fabric. The usage of PVC has been reduced considerably in recent years because of some of the toxins it releases during the manufacturing process. These toxins can be particularly harmful.
It does look quite fancy. Compared to real leather jackets and items, it doesn’t form a patina after a few years. However, vegan leather jackets are not as breathable as genuine leather jackets.
Depends on whether or not you like chemicals. The smell of vegan leather is a bit strange, thanks to the kind of manufacturing process it undergoes. It smells like a room full of different types of chemicals. However, the finished product undergoes multiple treatments and is more or less devoid of the 'chemical smell' when you're buying a vegan leather item from shops.
Yes. Vegan leather jackets and items are waterproof.
The fact the vegan leather is waterproof makes it easy to maintain it. You could use a conditioner or a mild detergent to clean it if you wish to. Unlike real leather, vegan leather does not deteriorate when exposed to water. Similarly, you can also clean it with a damp cloth, in the event of accidental spills and stains.
No. Never iron your vegan leather items. You could steam them for 30 seconds or less if absolutely necessary but just like real leather, ironing vegan leather is a very bad idea and should be avoided at all costs.
It is. But not as much as genuine leather. However, despite its stretchable properties, it is best advised to avoid stretching leather items, whether they are real or faux.
Yes, you can. You will find several 'faux leather repair kits' online. However, the best practice is to reach out to leather professionals and let them work their magic.
It is. But vegan leather may not last as long as genuine leather. Proceed with caution but do not hesitate to buy vegan leather items purely because they cannot match real leather jackets and items in terms of longevity.
There's no straight answer to this. While animal activists and vegan enthusiasts will tell you that it doesn't harm the environment because there is no animal slaughter involved, it is only half the truth. The manufacturing process of vegan leather involves a lot of chemicals (something that we've already stated) that do not biodegrade fully.