Faux leather is a popular alternative to real, authentic leather. It originated as an affordable alternative to leather but got adopted soon as the more “environmentally-friendly” leather. But faux leather, otherwise known as vegan leather is not as green as it seems or sounds. It’s just good branding. But branding doesn’t rid it of the harm it causes to the planet. Okay, let us explain.
Real leather’s time is up
Real leather is currently going through a phase that fur went through a few years ago. It’s an animal based product that reeks of animal cruelty, toxins, and water wastage.
There is no saving grace for leather and it’s about time we bid it adieu. Animal leather is simply not a material for the modern world.
The industry and users alike have been quick to adopt faux leather. It’s a leather imitation made of polyurethane (PU) or polyvinylchloride (PVC). It’s not an animal product, it is cheaper and faster to create. So it must be a great alternative. Happy ending? Not yet.
You see, Faux Leather is just as bad!
Take a few steps back. It’s definitely wonderful that faux leather is not made of animal products.
But what is it made of? Polyurethane (PU) or Polyvinylchloride (PVC). In simpler words, it’s plastic. This is why it’s also referred to as Pleather.
It’s a concoction of synthetic polymer fibres, chemicals, oil, wax and dye. And in sadder words, this kind of plastic fills up landfills and oceans and releases toxic chemicals in the environment. Worst part is, it takes hundreds of years to degrade as plastic essentially is not biodegradable.
So yes, while Faux leather may tick one box of being “vegan” it’s nowhere close to the perfect material.
“But isn’t ‘Vegan’ a good thing?” Looks like you just got greenwashed
That’s the problem. Instead of calling it fake leather or PVC leather, many brands choose to call it Vegan Leather. A very smart business choice, there. While technically the leather is vegan since it contains no animal products, “vegan’ is a green buzz word.
When customers read vegan, they think environmentally conscious. Many of us don’t take the time to learn more about the material, and that’s why brands are easily able to greenwash us.
So, is there any alternative to leather?
So many. The fashion industry is full of underdog materials just waiting to be discovered. The most popular and our favourite, is cork. Cork accessories are on the rise and we’re rooting for it. However, it’s not as glossy or smooth as leather. It has a natural, different texture.
That’s where Cactus leather comes in. A natural vegan leather made of cactus leaves that’s just as glossy and smooth as regular leather.
Here are some Arture accessories made of these innovative materials.
And that’s not all. All over the world people use pineapple leaves, fruit peels, and all sorts of recycled materials to create accessories.
The key is looking for alternatives and innovating till we find something that replaces medieval materials that harm the planet. The options are plenty, it’s on us to make the better choice.