FAQ About Faux Leather
1. Why does ILNI Use Faux Leather?
With real leather being made from the skin of an animal, we wanted to find a better product to make our bags with. There is something we find quite uncomfortable about carrying around the skin of a dead animal in our opinion. It just ruins an outfit! Not only is leather cruel to animals, the process to make it requires bucket loads of harmful chemicals making it immensely harmful to us and to our environment.
We know, this topic can be controversial for some, but in the name of kindness, we at ILNI have chosen faux leather for all our bags. We see faux leather as a far more human-friendly, environmentally friendly and animal-friendly alternative. And, yes, we happen to really like the idea that our bags are not made of the actual skins of animals.
2. What is Faux Leather?
‘Faux’ means ‘false’, and faux leather is created to imitate the look and qualities of leather without the cruelty factor. It can be almost impossible to tell the difference between high-quality faux leather and leather, such is the cleverness of the manufacturers of this leather alternative.
The benefits of faux leather, aside from the obvious that it doesn’t require an animal, are many. To name a few: Faux leather is lighter, easier to shape and less restrictive than real leather. It can also be dyed any colour making it, in our opinion even better than the real thing.
3. What is Faux Leather made of?
Faux leather has a fabric base that is then treated with wax, dye and polyurethane to give it the colour and texture of leather. It is a reusable plastic product made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC)polyurethane (PU), or polyamide microfiber.
Our Faux leather is made from polyurethane, which is generally regarded as being environmentally friendly and safe to use whereas PVC is notoriously bad for the environment and your health.
4. Is Faux Leather good for the environment?
According to the latest ‘Pulse of the Fashion Industry’ report, in a direct comparison of the environmental impact of leather versus the impact of faux leather, faux leather comes out the winner in terms of cradle to grave impact on our environment. And, it wins by a large margin, with only one-third of the impact of natural leather. By switching to an alternative product the ecological footprint of a handbag for example will be much smaller. This is great news for our environment and great news for a fashion industry that is already looking for alternatives with less impact on our planet.
5. Is real leather better for the environment?
This topic can get really scientific, really fast, so to answer this question, without putting on our lab coats, here are the basics. Leather uses many harmful chemicals to preserve the skin. These include some of the nasties like formaldehyde, mineral salts, cyanide-based dyes, and coal-tar derivatives. These chemicals are terrible for humans and the environment. More than the chemical impact, if we look at the whole life of leather, the environmental impact is also huge. Raising cattle requires a large amount of energy and water and is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases on our planet.
6. What is the difference between Faux Leather and Real Leather?
Faux leather is a manmade and cruelty-free alternative that is made from a plastic base and treated with wax, dye and polyurethane to make the colour and texture of leather.
Real leather requires real animals to sacrifice their skin for our fashion tastes, faux leather doesn’t. Cows, buffalo, alligator and snake skins are not required in the making of a faux leather handbag. Thank goodness!
One other difference between genuine and faux leather is that real leather has uneven markings, as no two hides are the same. That’s because the skin reflects the life of the animal who owned it first, scars and all! Imagine having your stretch marks on display as a handbag for eternity, no thank you. Faux leather on the other hand is uniform, even if it is created to look natural as the pores are synthetically created.
7. How is Faux Leather made to look real?
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.
8. How can I tell if it’s real or Faux Leather?
A secret from the industry: even the professionals sometimes find it hard to tell the difference! You have to actually look underneath the leather to know for sure. The underneath of real leather is obviously animal skin. The backside of a piece of faux leather will reveal a woven backing.
Real leather also has a little more stretch than faux leather, in part because it was a piece of a living organism.
9. How does Faux Leather age? (How long does it last?)
Preserved skin, aka leather, is treated with chemicals that stop the natural decaying of dead skin. Meaning leather can remain intact and looking good for decades. However, tests have shown that faux leather also remains attractive and durable over a similar period of time. The key is to choose high-quality faux leather, as this is more likely to last. Faux leather also requires care, much the same leather does.
10. How do I take care of my Faux Leather?
Looking after faux leather is fairly simple. Keep it dust-free, clean and moisturized. There are a range of great conditioners in the market that are made to keep your faux leather durable, resistant and beautiful over the years. Some of these wonderful products even help with making the faux leather a much stronger and more durable fabric, even better than real leather. Faux leather conditioners are also going to help the fibres stay strong and durable; they prevent the faux leather surface from cracking and losing essential components that hold it together. Use a faux leather conditioner once every 6 months, it will keep your faux leather object like new.
11. What is PU Leather?
PU leather is a version of Faux Leather. It is a split leather that has been laminated with a polyurethane coating to make it look like a top grain leather. Usually, these leathers have a glossy surface and an antique look. PU leather is used for furniture, bags and shoes. Sometimes, “PU” is mixed up with “Pull–Up leather, which is an oiled/waxed leather. As the use of the term PU leather is different in every country, always ask which material is used.