Going vegan isn’t just about food choices. It’s about examining how, as a whole, we can eliminate the use of animal products from our lives. For this article specifically, outside of the food realm, this includes leather. Fortunately, vegan leather can allow you to go green and cruelty-free without sacrificing fashionable shoe, clothing, or furniture choices. But what is vegan leather exactly, and what is it made from? Below, we answer these questions and more about vegan leather, so you can make the switch today.
What Is Vegan Leather and Other FAQs
What Is Vegan Leather?
Vegan leather is simply another name for faux, artificial, or synthetic leather. Both inside the vegan community and out, ethical questions are often raised about the methods of obtaining animal hide. Vegan leather, then, is the answer. Here are the most common materials used to make vegan leather:
Poromeric Imitation Leather
Chances are, you own a clothing item or accessory made from this material. The idea is to imitate leather by using polyester as a base layer and PU plastic coating. You will often find clothing, upholstery, and accessories made from this material.
Leatherette uses polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, as an alternative to the real thing. However, the use of PVC-based vegan leather has its own issues. Environmentalists claim this material poses more of a threat to both man and animal. Consequently, the use of PVC in fashion has declined in recent years.
Cork, kelp, and Piñatex are popular vegan leather options. Plant-based alternatives may be the greenest type of vegan leather. There is an issue with durability, but there are ways to remedy this setback.
Is Vegan Leather Safe for the Environment?
This is where plastic-based vegan leather comes under fire. Greenpeace cited PVC as the most toxic plastic and claims it poses serious health threats. Even PU is under scrutiny (as all plastic-based materials are). Concerned parties and authorities argue plastic-based leather is bad as a long-term alternative to real leather. Therefore, we recommend steering clear of this type of vegan leather.
What Are the Other Alternatives?
As of the moment, plant-based alternatives are the most popular of all vegan leather. Cork leather, kelp leather, and Piñatex from pineapple leaves are all plant-based options available on the market. Now, we even have vegan leather derived from mushroom and fruits! Even soy has taken the stage as a potential vegan leather material source.
Of course, there’s also the option to skip leather altogether. There are plenty of other durable and stylish materials, like denim or linen.
Do We Have Options on the Market?
Like faux fur, faux leather is becoming more and more visible from retailers. Companies like Corkor offer quality accessories ranging from wallets to belts made from cork leather. Meanwhile, Bourgeois Boheme offers sleek shoes and bags made from Piñatex.
Where to Buy Vegan Furniture?
Your fashion and makeup choices may be vegan, but what about your furniture? Any good vegan will cringe at leather upholstered furniture. Good thing furniture with vegan leather upholstery is now widely available! Companies such as Cisco home and Environment Furniture offer vegan options for your furnishing and decor needs.
What Does the Future Hold for Vegan Leather?
Fortunately, the search for the ultimate vegan leather isn’t at a standstill. There is much more to be discovered in regards to environmentally-friendly and cruelty-free alternatives that are just as durable and fashionable as leather, while still following ethical standards in their process and manufacturing.
Watch how pineapple leaves can turn to Puma shoes in this video from Newsy:
What is vegan leather? Now you know it’s the future! While you don’t have to swap out all your leather immediately, by slowing incorporating more and more vegan leather into your life, you can feel good about yourself and the environment. Remember, it doesn’t have to to be difficult. In fact, brands like Matt & Nat, Noah, and Corkor all make it easy.
What do you think about vegan leather? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
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