What is vegan leather?
As it stands at the moment there are no regulations on how and where the term vegan leather is used in the UK.
‘Vegan Leather’ has become a buzz word in an age of greenwashing and is often used by many brands to describe PVC and PU manufactured using toxic chemicals and harmful materials.
Vegan leather is often associated with being eco friendly- but it’s important to be aware that not all vegan leathers are eco friendly and can cause significant damage to our natural environment such as PVC.
The term vegan leather can also be used to describe natural leathers crafted from fruits and vegetables such as grapes, corn and cactus.
Kinder to the planet vegan leather is made using eco-friendly processes, such as water based PU or natural alternatives (mentioned above) or made using recycled plastics.
Is Vegan Leather durable?
Vegan leather varies in durability depending on the manufacturer, technique and materials used.
Typically most vegan leather products will be made using plastics, which are bonded to a backing fabric- it’s where the plastic comes from and what resins/adhesives which are used which determines the longevity and durability of the product.
Natural animal skins may grow old gracefully and wear their knocks and bruises in style, while vegan leathers made using plastic can scuff and snap over time.
However it’s important to consider the true cost of animal leather too.
How are the animals farmed?
Are they killed humanely?
What is the tanning process?
Can the leather be upcycled/recycled in the future?
Most vegan leather alternatives should offer between 1-3 years of use, possibly more if looked after well. In addition to this eco friendly pu can often be recycled after use which further prolongs the life of the fabric.
Whether you opt for vegan leather, or animal leather durability will be determined by:
-The design of the product
-The quality of manufacturing
-The quality of the material
-The care and use of the product