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What is Faux Leather?

What is Faux Leather?

Fake Leather
Faux Leather

Leather is excellent for many things. The use of this wondrous fabric includes upholstery for furniture, clothes, shoes, and of course bags. It is however expensive to own leather. Real leather such as full-grain leather and top-grain leather is expensive. They do however promise the best quality of leather anyone can buy. But for those on a budget, buying real leather is likely not an option. Owning leather however is still quite possible. This is where synthetic fabrics come in. Specifically, there are faux leather and PU leather.

Get to know more about faux leather and the pros and cons of owning faux leather items. If you wish to know more about PU leather click on this link to read our article all about it: What is PU Leather.

Important Reminder!

An important reminder. Before we proceed on talking about what is faux leather we at Steel Horse Leather Co. do not use fake leather. Our company uses only real, natural leather for every product. We assure you that all products are authentic leather made from the highest quality of animal hide. Furthermore, at Steel Horse Leather Co. we are working with only the best Leather Artisans to bring your Genuine, High-Quality Leather products. Our products are therefore superior to any fake leather products in quality. If you wish to know more about us click on this link to be redirected to our About Us page.

What Is Faux Leather?

It looks like leather, it feels like leather but is it real leather? From its name, faux leather is not leather. Conclusively, “faux” is a French word that means “fake”. Therefore, faux leather is fake leather. Many also refer to it as leatherette and/or vegan leather. Since it is fake it is, therefore, inferior to real leather products. It does, however, have its advantages. Get to know the advantages and disadvantages of faux leather as we go along.

What Makes Fake Leather?

Before we talk about what makes this type of synthetic leather let us briefly discuss how about what makes real leather.

Making natural leather is a time-consuming process. It also takes time and practice to perfect. To make real, natural leather we use animal skins or hide. The most common animals that are used to make leather are cows, horses, and rabbits. Although, cowhides are the most common leather fabrics. The leather making process involves a few steps. Steps such as cleaning the skin, removing the hairs, drying the skin, conditioning, tanning, and finishing. There are also a few methods of cleaning and tanning the leather. If you wish to know more about making real natural leather check out this article.

Faux leather on the other hand is not made of real animal skin but of synthetic material.

It is purpose is obviously to look like real leather. Although it may look like leather and feel like leather it has a glaring difference from real leather. The two can be distinguished by looking at the patterns on the leather. Real leather has unique patterns since it is made from animal skin. It is said that no animal skin is exactly the same therefore unique and distinguishable in some way. Fake leather on the other hand has uniform patterns. This is because of the machine that makes the leather.

Faux Leather Uniform Patterns

To be specific there are two types of faux leather. PU Leather Fabric and PVC Leather Fabric.

PU Faux Leather Fabric

This variation of fake leather fabric is made by applying or laminating 100% polyurethane finish to a base material. These base materials may be polyester, cotton, nylon, or rayon.

PVC Faux Leather Fabric

This variation of fake leather is similar to PU leather fabric. There is however a slight difference. Instead of using a polyurethane finish, this variation uses a combination of polyvinyl chloride with stabilizers (to protect), plasticizers (to soften), and lubricants (to make flexible), and then applying to a base material. It does still however use the same base materials as PU Leather.

Faux Leather = Vegan Leather

Many consider this as an advantage over real leather.

Faux leather is considered vegan leather since it does not use any real animals in the process. Many therefore use fake leather as a cruelty-free alternative to owning accessories such as handbags and furniture. It is however important to consider the environmental concern that fake leather brings. Since the making of fake leather involves a plastic base such as PVC, many raise its ecological impacts. There are however many brands that produce fake leather that is innovating to keep the ecological impacts low.


A blatant difference when it comes between real leather and faux leather is the cost. Real leather is expensive. The higher the quality of leather the more it costs. Faux leather on the other hand costs less. That is why many purchase fake leather because of its price. You pay less for something that looks and feels the same as real leather.

The reason for the difference in prices is because of manufacturing. Real leather is hard to manufacture and takes time to create. Animal skin also costs more to acquire. Faux leather is cheaper because it is easier to manufacture with machines. It also takes less time to make and produces more leather in a shorter span of time than real leather.

Indeed, it is quantity over quality.

The Durability of Faux Leather

Speaking of quantity over quality, let us talk about the difference when it comes to durability.

If leather is known for something, it is because of its durability. Real leather if properly taken care of will last a lifetime. It will also develop a beautiful patina which adds to its value. Faux leather on the other hand is not so durable. It is known to easily crack and puncture especially when infrequent use.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Since real leather is an organic material it easily absorbs liquids. Therefore, real leather easily stains. Furthermore, these stains are a pain to remove, if removing it is still possible. Faux leather on the other hand does not absorb liquids. It therefore will be less susceptible to staining. It is also easier to clean in contrast to real leather. Cleaning real leather is a delicate process.


Overall, faux leather is indeed an inferior leather when compared to real leather. However, it does come with its own advantages against real leather. Choosing the right leather will always be a matter of preference. Many factors will always involve your choices. Cost over quality may be the most common. However, it is always important to note that real leather, although quite expensive, will always be a good investment in the long run.

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