What are the different types of faux leather fabric?
Over the years companies are doing many types of research and have come up with different types of faux leather. According to the raw material used for the construction of synthetic leather, synthetic fibers can be categorized into different types:
• PU leather
PU leather or polyurethane leather is a type of synthetic leather that has polyurethane as its raw material and it is one of the least expensive leather available in the market. In the manufacturing of PU leather, backing fabric such as cotton, polyester, or shredded leather is coated with a flexible polymer and then different treatments are done to give it a look of real leather. Since it is of low cost hence its quality and other properties are also compromised. After a few years of use, PU leather can wear and crack because the flexibility of the plastic used in its production is not very flexible.
The plastic used in its production ends up making the product not very flexible. Thus, it can wear and crack from just a few years of use. To simulate the look of real leather, the surface of the PU leather is embossed with a grain. PU leather is used in upholstery, bags, clothing, and shoes.
• PVC leather
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) leather uses ‘polyvinyl chloride’ resin as its raw material. It is sometimes simply called Vinyl. For its substrate, it uses a variety of fabrics like woven fabric, knitted fabric, non-woven fabric, etc. During the 1920s it was one of the first fake leather created. The durability and toughness of PVC leather are slightly more than PU leather because PVC leather manufacturing uses more layers underneath its coating. Sometimes PVC leather is also referred to as “poromeric” leather. Due to high durability and toughness, it has more applications in upholstery and footwear. It has good breathability hence it is used in making boots and other types of footwear.
Leatherette is a term given to all those synthetic leather which are made from vinyl or other types of plastics and fabric. They consist of a fabric base and a plastic coating. They do not contain any type of animal by-product and are produced to imitate the look and feel of real leather. Due to the advanced technologies and production methods, it is very hard to distinguish between real leather and leatherette.
Leatherette is not porous in nature hence it is not fit for garment manufacturing. It is much cheaper than real leather and has good sunlight resistance i.e. it does not fade when exposed to sunlight for a longer time. Examples of leatherette are both PU leather and PVC leather.
• Vegan leather
In the present time, when people are aware of sustainability, vegan leather is an ethical and cruelty-free alternative to genuine leather. The manufacturing process of vegan lather is not always considered as environmentally friendly. The different types of vegan leather which are made from sustainable materials are pineapple leaves, coconut, cork, apple peels, other fruit waste, recycled plastic, etc.
Birkibuc, Birko-Flor, Kydex, Lorica, PVC, and Vegetan are other types of vegan leather that are not made from sustainable materials. Birkibuc is a replica of nubuck leather; acrylic and polyamide are the raw material for Birko-flor; acrylic and PVC alloy is used for manufacturing Kydex, and different types of microfibers are blended together for producing Lorica.
Vegan leather has similar applications to that of real leather such as garments, shoes, accessories, etc. Many sustainable designers like Stella McCartney, Jill Milan are now using Vegan leather for developing their design collections.
• Vegetable oil leather
In recent times, scientists have also manufactured vegetable oil leather. Vegetable oil leather is not only more environmentally friendly but it has better durability than PU and PVC leather. This type of leather has a very niche market as it is mostly preferred by vegan people who are concerned about nature and the environment. It is also more expensive than any other type of leather.