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What is faux leather?

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Genuine leather is a luxury fabric that is made of organic material such as animal skins. Many animals are harmed during the production process and it also causes harm to the environment. Hence to satisfy the demand for growing leather and to reduce the negative impact of the manufacturing process leather alternative was innovated which does not use organic materials as its raw material. This was called man-made leather or faux leather or synthetic leather.

To imitate the genuine leather fabric, materials such as wax, dye, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or polyurethane are used to give the finish and texture to the synthetic leather fabric. Man-made leather is produced to meet different needs across many countries. Genuine leather is limited in size due to the size of the hide but faux leather can be manufactured in different sizes.

The properties of faux leather are the same as that of genuine leather except that its durability is less than that of genuine leather. As compared to real leather, faux leather has a cool and unnatural feeling. When the synthetic leather is pressed with fingers, it simply depresses under the fingers, and then it comes back to the original shape after some time which means that the synthetic leather is flexible and can retain its shape. Since plastic is the raw material of synthetic leather hence even the synthetic leather smells like chemical and similar to that of plastic. This plastic smell is the best way to identify synthetic leather.

There are two types of plastics that are being used for the construction of synthetic leather which is polyurethane (PU), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC – Vinyl). Since the 1940s in the United States, Vinyl synthetic leather has been produced for manufacturing products like shoes, upholstery, automobile interiors, etc. DuPont came into leather manufacturing in the late 1950s, after which many chemical companies started to develop products made from synthetic leather. Now in the present times both polyurethane and vinyl synthetic leathers are used in various types of applications like clothing, upholstery, product covers, etc.

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