Leather is an extremely versatile material, and for centuries has been the go-to for a wide variety of accessories and clothing. In recent decades, we have seen an increase in faux leather on the market. Faux leather is fully synthetic and uses no animal products, and is sometimes referred to as Vegan Leather. Each type of leather has its benefits and drawbacks, and we put together a quick summary of these to help you in your next purchase.
The term ‘genuine leather’ is a contested term within the leather industry. The term refers to leather made from animal hides, which is arguable the only true type of ‘authentic leather’. The term has been oversaturated however, and many sellers of faux leather incorrectly refer to their product as genuine leather. It can be difficult to tell the difference, but it is an important distinction.
Genuine leather is a staple in anyone’s wardrobe, and there are reasons why it has been so popular for so many years. Leather is extremely durable, and while it softens over time, it does not lose its durability; real leather tends to maintain its shape and strength much longer than faux leather. Whilst faux leather has seen improvements in recent years, the look of real leather is much more luxurious and timeless. One of the largest benefits of real leather is that it really does last a lifetime. When looked after properly, your leather items will retain their look and quality for years to come.
Genuine leather does come with some small drawbacks however, which are useful to bear in mind. Firstly, leather crafting is a honed skill, and therefore a genuine leather item does cost more than faux leather. Secondly, genuine leather will last a lifetime, but only when subject to proper care and use. Leather needs regular cleaning and conditioning to maintain its beautiful finish. Lastly, leather is a naturally occurring product, and as such, can be imperfect. The grain is often not uniform, and the porous nature means it is susceptible to staining.
Faux leather comes with many benefits, that many are quick to disregard. As an accessory, faux leather is easier to maintain. Where real leather absorbs water, making it a victim to staining, faux leather is mostly waterproof, and is often stain and UV resistant. The lack of water retention in faux leather means it is less likely to warp over time, and can easily be cleaned with a simple wipe. Faux leather is also more versatile in use, as it can be dyed a myriad of colours. It also tends to be much cheaper than real leather, so if you are cutting costs, then it makes an ideal choice.
Faux leather does come with some drawbacks however, with the natural qualities of leather providing key benefits. Faux leather does not stretch, breathe, or wear like genuine animal hide leather does. This means it is more prone to tearing or cracking when put under strain, and it doesn’t develop or retain its lustre over time. Faux leather also puts a strain on the environment. Where real leather is a by product of the meat industry, faux leather must be created specifically and the manufacturing process can create substantial waste.
The difference between faux leather and genuine leather entirely depends on personal taste and the item itself. In most cases, genuine leather will be much more appropriate, but there are rare cases that faux leather provides a more suitable solution. At ROMA By RL, all our designs use full-grain vegetable tanned leather, providing quality and durability at all times. Shop our full collection, or get in touch using our online enquiry form.