Faux leather (also referred to as “leatherette” or “vegan” leather) is often considered as a lower cost alternative to genuine leather. Genuine leather is in high demand and for good reasons. Real leather has an inviting feel, it provides exceptional durability, and quality leather improves with age. In a previous blog, we discussed two types of faux leather: bi-cast and bonded leather. Here, we continue the comparison with two additional types of faux leather: PU faux leather fabric and PVC faux leather fabric.
PU Faux Leather Fabric
PU leather fabric is made by applying or laminating a 100% polyurethane finish to a base material. Typical base materials include polyester, cotton, nylon, or rayon. A roller applies an artificial grain pattern to the surface to imitate the look of genuine leather. The artificial grain is typically very uniform.
PVC Faux Leather Fabric
PVC leather fabric is very similar to PU leather fabric. Instead of polyurethane, PVC leather fabric is made by combining polyvinylchloride with stabilizers (to protect), plasticizers (to soften) and lubricants (to make flexible), and then applying to a base material. Again, the base materials are typically polyester, cotton, nylon, or rayon.
Genuine leather is made from organic materials, typically bovine hides. The natural collagen fibers are intricately intertwined, providing superior durability over man-made, weaved products. There are numerous variations of leather with different types of finishes. Some finishes provide better protection against daily wear, however, all leather is inherently stronger due to the innate composition of the hides.
Although the low price of faux leather may be enticing, it is important to consider the long-term value of your purchase. While many faux leathers are attractive because they are easy to clean with harsh chemicals, the laminated surface often cracks after only a few years of use. Genuine leather, on the other hand, has been known to last for 10 to 20 years or longer.
Garrett Leather offers an hour-long IDCEC accredited course titled “A Comparison Between Genuine Leather and Faux Leathers”. Upon completion, designers may earn .1 CEU credit. Contact us for more information or to schedule a presentation.