Faux leather, also known as artificial or synthetic leather is a man-made leather, made with artificial material as against genuine leather. It is made from chemicals like plastic base; and then treated with wax, polyurethane, or dye to give it color and texture. While natural leather is made from hides, from animals like cattle, sheep, buffalo, oxen, etc.
It was first produced in the early 1900s, and it has been faced with a series of ridicules. But the improvement in the quality of faux leather gave rise to its popularities, which made it a favorite in the automotive and furniture industries to date.
The way faux leather is manufactured makes it looks exactly like the genuine one, but there are some noticeable differences when closely looked at. The uniqueness of the natural leather is only visible by the texture and pattern.
Genuine leather from cattle often features natural elements like stretch-marks, veins scars, etc. which are not consistent but faux leather will always be uniform because the pores and scars are synthetically produced. Apart from these, you won’t notice much difference between both.
6 Benefits Of Faux Leather
Faux leather is suitable for those with a low budget as it is not costly like the genuine one, because of the mass availability of materials used in producing it. The mass production quantity also gives it an advantage to be available everywhere and affordable to get.
One of the advantages of faux leather is the low maintenance it offers, and you only need to clean or wipe the surface with a wet cloth or rag.
Unlike real leather, it does not absorb moisture or water, so it can’t become warped or cracked. Even with the new faux leather, it is easier to wipe out stubborn ink, food, or liquid stain, which is hard to do initially.
Since it’s made from synthetic materials and readily available, it gives room for the versatility of producing different styles, patterns, and colors of leather. There is more freedom to provide different styles when decorating residential or commercial interiors.
Easier to work on
Unlike genuine leather, which is very hard to cut, faux leather is tender and makes it easier to cut and sew into different shapes and sizes. When working on it, needle marks are less noticeable, and threads blend more on it.
Due to the availability of the extensive materials, there is a consistent appearance in the output since it all came out from the same stock. There might be hundreds or thousands of the same patterns and texture of a particular faux leather.
The materials used in producing faux leather are synthetic. It is animal-friendly since it’s gotten from chemicals, unlike genuine leather which is made of animal hide and skin.
This issue has caused a lot of controversies, as some people for personal ethic reasons dislike genuine leather; which made synthetic leather an alternative to them.
5 Downsides Of Faux Leather
Though, the design and pattern of faux leather may look attractive to the eye. But due to the chemical and dyes used in the production; some people may be allergic to the smell of chemicals in it, thereby bringing adverse reactions. The chemicals if sniffed in too much, may not be healthy for the body system.
Since faux leather is artificial, and the materials used in producing it; is chemicals. It does not last long enough like the genuine one. Even after all the maintenance, it’s still not durable like genuine leather which can last for a lifetime.
It is easy for faux leather to get punctured due to the materials used in producing it, unlike genuine leather, which is hard to puncture. Once it is punctured, this often marks its end gradually.
Not environmental friendly
The materials used in producing faux leather are mostly chemicals, so it’s not environmentally friendly. But genuine leather can be recycled since its materials are from cow’s by-products.
Lack of real leather smell
Some people prefer the smell of natural leather as compared to faux leather which smells of chemicals even though it’s coated with a real leather smell.
Types Of Faux Leather
Faux leather needs to go through a lot of synthetic processes before it can be ready for use. Below are the lists of the most common types of faux leather.
This is another type of faux leather made from plastic and fabric; this can either be natural or synthetic. It was earlier used in book-binding and cameras but widely used in car upholstery today.
Leatherette is not porous; so no air can pass through it, due to this nature, it is not suitable for clothing because it does not allow sweat to leave the fabric.
People mostly prefer leatherette due to its affordability and environmentally friendly nature. It can be used to make different fabrics like bags, shoes, furniture, and other goods.
This is also a type of faux leather which is made by layering a plastic on fabric; the plastic materials used are the typical PVC (the pipes in plumbing).
Plastic leather is the most widely used type of faux leather due to the glossy appearance; hence, it is the best durable alternative to genuine leather.
It is durable and does not fade. However, it is not that friendly to the skin and cannot be dry-cleaned or washed easily, unlike genuine leather.
This is quite similar to plastic leather in the production process. It is made of a combination of different faux fabrics. The formation of these; brings out the one that looks exactly like genuine leather.
It mostly involves the process of placing a layer of polyurethane-coated over a layer of polyester fabric. When it is finally produced, it’s hard to distinguish it from the genuine leather at first glance due to the high-quality output.
However, a close inspection reveals genuine leather has irregular and inconsistent spaced pores, while faux leathers have evenly perfect and repeating pores.