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  • Writer's pictureTri City Furniture, Auburn

Vegan Leather

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

What is the deal with leather? There are so many terms to know. What makes one better than the other. Learn more about Leather with Kathy from Tri City Furniture on Design Time.

Have you heard the term "VEGAN LEATHER"? It is a new trend that confuses many buyers. Vegan leather is defined mainly by what it does not contain – animal skin and other byproducts. It can be made from either plastics or plant matter. There is growing concern about the environmental impact of plastic-based vegan leather and its inability to biodegrade at the end of its life cycle.

Vegan leather is designed to imitate real leather and is made from different kinds of plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane. It does not age as gracefully as real leather, nor does it acquire the soft patina that makes real leather so attractive to many consumers.

Plastic-based vegan leather does not have the breathability that real leather does, meaning that car upholstery made from it (also known as leatherette) will get wet and sweaty much faster.

There is also BONDED LEATHER. It is made from the leftover scraps and fibers made from processing genuine leather mixed with a polyurethane binder. These fibers are then rolled together using adhesives to bond them onto a paper backing. Some manufacturers may add an additional coating of polyurethane to the bonded leather and emboss it so it has the texture of real leather. Most bonded leather is comprised of only 10-20% genuine leather. Some manufacturers market bonded leather as real leather, when it in fact only contains a small percentage of genuine leather.

  • Vegan and Bonded leather is not as durable as genuine leather and has a short lifespan.

  • They may wears away over time and can easily scratch, peel, and flake, unlike genuine leather.

  • The color can fade in the sunlight.

  • Over time, bonded leather can release some of the chemicals that were used when the fibers were bonded together.

  • Bonded leather can be hard to clean. Some cleaners can be abrasive and strip away the leather over time.

So, you may save some money upfront, but if you are looking for a quality piece that will last, you may want to ask and be specific that you want actual leather- full hide/ not split. I have heard horror stories from clients who bought "leather" or so they thought they did. They tell me that the store told them that it was "leather" and now it is peeling or unable to clean.... Make sure to ask and if that staff member does not know, have them ask someone or call the company. You take in so much information when you are shopping, sometimes some words such as "Split Hide Leather" maybe over looked. You heard LEATHER, but the SPLIT HIDE is so important too.

For instance, a hide, could be split up to 25 times. So, think about it. A full hide is the thickness of a quarter. Now, imagine that being split 25 times!! Those 25 new hides will not be anywhere as durable as the original full hide. Will there be a price difference? There should! But, I have also been told by those frustrated clients that they paid full price for a fake leather sofa! They wish they had know!

Be informed, trust who you are working with and ask questions! If you need help, come talk to us at Tri City Furniture in Auburn!

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