This is everything you need to know about Vegetarian Leather.
So what is Vegetarian Leather?
Vegetarian leather, also known as Faux leather is a leather alternative that is not made from the hide of animals. It looks and feels like ordinary leather, but it is made out of a variety of plastics and other materials.
Below is a detailed explanation about everything you need to know about vegetarian leather. We will discuss where it comes from, how it is made and its uses. It is fairly considered a leather alternative, especially to the vegan community for obvious reasons.
What is Vegan Leather and How is Vegan Leather made?
There are a variety of materials used in the making of this type of leather. The process is completely different from the production of real leather since no real animal hides are involved. Two commonly materials used in making vegetarian leather include PU( Polyurethane) and PVC ( Polyvinylchloride).
Vegan Leather made from PVC
PVC is a common affordable plastic compound. It comprises of carbon and chloride which is softened by a variety of chemicals and acids to make the final product. With no doubt, PVC is definitely not eco-friendly, being one of the most harmful plastics to the environment. It takes up to 450 years more to decompose than ordinary leather, which says a lot really.
Vegan Leather made from PU ( Polyutherane)
The alternative less harmful material is PU or Polyurethane. It is more commonly used to make vegan leather or PU Leather due to it being more environmentally friendly. Polyurethane is made by adding adhesive to polyester fabrics and like PVC is a mixture of plastic chemicals and petroleum compounds.
It is more leather-like than PVC having fewer layers. It is certainly more expensive compared to PVC but it is definitely much better, with new ways being developed to make it even more suitable.
Vegetarian leather is supposed to be eco-friendly, with no involvement in killing animals whatsoever. However, the production of vegetarian leather uses a lot chemicals and plastics that can do more hard to environment than traditional leather production.
Vegatarian Leather made from Pinatex
Another material used to make vegetarian leather is Pinatex. This is made from the waste parts of the pineapple plant. The process involves stripping down pineapple through decortication and the long fibres extracted. They are then left to dry out in the sun or using ovens in the rainy season. The dried fibres undergo a purification process, which forms a fluff like material. This is then mixed with a corn-based polylactic acid to create Pinafelt, a non-woven mesh substance which forms the base of Pinatex products.
The best thing about Pinatex is that unlike other vegan leather materials, it’s 100% biodegradable.
Vegan Leather made from Wine
Made by the Italian company Vegea, wine leather is another suitable alternative for animal leather. It is made out of the by-products of wine processing, collectively known as pomage. The making of this kind of leather involves no harmful chemicals and no water is wasted.
Considering how big the wine industry is, with around 27 billion litres of wine produced the amount of wine leather produced is very large. This innovation is fairly new, with the project starting in 2018. It is, however, very promising and could be the next big thing in making vegan leather. You can visit their website here.
Vegan Leather made from Mushrooms
Mushroom leather also known Muskin is one of the best kinds of vegetarian leather. It is certainly more flexible and robust than any other vegan leather, making it more durable. Mushroom leather is made out of Mycelium, which is the underground root structure of mushrooms.
Mushroom leather is so durable that its advanced production is used in brick making. It sounds insane but it is absolutely true. The obvious benefit of Muskin is that is biodegradable hence very suitable for the environment.
Vegetarian Leather made from Cork
Cork leather is made from the bark of Cork Oak Trees that grow in the Mediterranean regions, and it is an interesting alternative to animal leather. After harvesting, the cork is left to air dry for up to six months.
It is then boiled and steamed to gain more elasticity. Continuous heat and pressure are applied to cork to press it into blocks. The blocks are then sliced into thin sheets that can be transformed into a multitude of cork leather accessories. The best thing about this manufacturing process is that it does not involve any chemicals, hence being eco-friendly.
What is Vegetarian Leather and is it better than Real Leather?
Now that we know what is vegetarian leather and where it comes from. Now you may be wondering, is vegan leather better than real leather? Probably the two main factors you may consider when choosing between the two is durability and quality. Vegan leather is certainly much thinner compared to real leather because of the materials used in its making. This might come as an advantage because it is certainly much easier to work with than Full Grain Leather however ther is very large difference in quality.
When it comes to durability, real leather is the obvious pick. PU leather is certainly cheaper but only last for up to a year at most. Real leather which is well maintained can last for a very long time. Plastic leather also looks unattractive when it wears out. This is not the case with real leather, which develops a much-desired Patina that makes it look very attractive.
In conclusion, while vegan leather is touted as suitable alternative, it is not as durable and long lasting as Full Grain Leather. The lesser durability combined with the higher use of chemicals make it a product of fast fashion. Full Grain Leather is meant to last many years and allow you to have one product rather than buying one every season. We only use the highest quality of leather such as Full Gain Leather and our special Crazy Horse Leather to make our Handmade Leather Bags. Every product we make is built to last while having a sophisicated fresh look.