Pleather versus Leather

Why do you think a celebrity like Nicky Hilton would pair her bohemian style paisley dress with a Matthew Williamson for H&M faux leather jacket? She can certainly afford real leather. However, faux leather seems to be just as fashionable and is in growing demand.  Inexpensive doesn’t always mean cheap.

In the past, anytime the words “imitation” or “fake” were used to describe something, it was usually in a negative light. However, times have changed, along with our awareness. Our technology to produce synthetic materials that mimic what’s found in the natural world has enabled us to improve the things we make. It has also been proven that just because something is labled as natural doesn’t always mean it is better for us or for the environment.

This has turned out to be the case when it comes to leather. Real leather might be considered a natural product. However, when you take a closer look at where leather comes from and how it is made, leather starts to look rather un-natural. It then becomes clear that imitation leather is a better alternative.

If this statement sounds shocking, then you may have never learned the ugly truth about the leather industry. The majority of the leather used to make the leather products sold in the US comes from India and China. In these countries, animal welfare and environmental laws do not exist. The animals are raised factory farm style, where they endure overcrowding, inhumane treatment and are injected with hormones and antibiotics to keep them alive until they are slaughtered.

In China, even dogs and cats are killed for their meat and hides. So leather starts with animal cruelty. Then there is the tanning process. In order to keep these dead animal skins from decomposing and stinking, they must be treated with toxic chemicals. In India, these tanneries were investigated by PETA and not only were workers touching and breathing in these toxins, but the factories were also dumping the chemicals into nearby rivers where the local villagers drink.

So it turns out that real leather has a more adverse environmental impact than faux leather. When you purchase products made out of leather, you are helping support an industry that causes massive suffering of animals.And while there are a growing number of celebrities that are joining PETA’s cause for cruelty-free lifestyles, not every celebrity seen wearing faux leather is an animal rights activist. There are celebrities that wear pleather (a combination of the words plastic and leather) or faux leather for no other reason than that it just looks good!

There are other advantages that pleather has. This type of synthetic fabric is much easier to clean and care for than leather. It is also much less expensive. Faux leather will save you money on the expensive dry cleaning bills associated with leather. Pleather will easily wipe clean, so you can feel confident about wearing it often. Pleather also has more elasticity and is very form fitting. This popular faux leather fabric has become a mainstream material for today’s hottest fashions.

Matte vinyl is a type of faux leather fabric that products such as bean bag chairs are made of and comes in a variety of bright, fun colors. Matte vinyl is also available by the yard at most fabric stores.

Taking everything into consideration, imitation leather has multiple advantages over real leather while having none of the same disadvantages. Whether you’re looking for the sleek, sexy look of faux leather pants or an imitation leather sofa, its easy to see why faux leather has become such a fashionable, hot selling item. Going leather-free has never been more of a pleather!

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