What is Vegan Leather

You've probably heard the term "vegan leather" thrown around in fashion circles, but what exactly is it? Vegan leather has become a popular choice as more and more people look for alternatives to traditional leather that are more moral and better for the environment. In this article, we'll talk about where vegan leather came from, what it's made of, what it's good for, and what it might be bad for. 

Vegan Leather: The Basics


Vegan leather was initially developed as a more affordable alternative to genuine leather. However, with the growing awareness of animal welfare and environmental issues, vegan leather has gained popularity as an ethical option for those who want the look and feel of leather without the associated social concerns.

Materials Used

Traditional leather is made from animal hides, whereas vegan leather is made from a variety of synthetic and natural materials. The most common materials include:

  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): A type of plastic that is durable and flexible, but has environmental and health concerns associated with its production and disposal.
  • Polyurethane (PU): A more eco-friendly and versatile alternative to PVC that has a similar feel to genuine leather.
  • Plant-based materials: Innovations in the vegan leather industry have led to the development of plant-based alternatives, using materials such as cork, kelp, pineapple fibers (Piñatex), and even apple peels.

Is vegan leather the same as faux leather?

Yes, vegan leather and faux leather are pretty much the same thing. Both terms refer to synthetic materials that look like real leather but don't come from animals. However, vegan leather is not just about cutting costs; it's about rejecting cruelty, toxins, and destructive practices while giving consumers PETA-approved materials that offer freedom and sustainability. Faux leather, on the other hand, simply imitates real leather cheaply.

Benefits of Vegan Leather

benefits of vegan leatherImage by rawpixel.com on Freepik

Vegan leather is a fabulous alternative to traditional leather that's good for the planet and our furry friends. Here are some of its perks:

Ethical Considerations

One of the primary reasons people opt for vegan leather is its cruelty-free nature. No animals are harmed in the production of vegan leather, making it an ethical choice for those concerned about animal welfare.

Environmental Impact

While synthetic vegan leathers such as PVC and PU do have some environmental concerns, they still generally have a lower environmental impact than traditional leather production. When animal hides are tanned and processed, toxic chemicals and a lot of water are used, which adds to pollution and waste.

Vegan leathers made from plants, in particular, are a more sustainable choice that have a much smaller impact on the environment. These materials are often biodegradable and use fewer resources in their production.

Cost and Accessibility

Vegan leather is usually cheaper than real leather, which makes it a good choice for people who want to save money. Also, as the demand for vegan products grows, there are more and more vegan leather products on the market, making them easier to get than ever before.

Potential Drawbacks of Vegan Leather

On the other hand, some concerns include:

Durability and Quality

While advancements in vegan leather technology have led to improvements in quality and durability, some synthetic vegan leathers may not be as long-lasting as genuine leather. This can lead to faster wear and tear, requiring more frequent replacements.

Sustainability Concerns

As mentioned earlier, PVC and PU-based vegan leathers come with their own set of environmental concerns. Particularly, making and getting rid of PVC can release harmful chemicals and contribute to pollution. So, when choosing a vegan leather product, it's important to weigh the ethical pros against the environmental cons.

Care And Maintenance

Taking good care of your vegan leather is important if you want it to last a long time. Here are some tips on caring for and maintaining this material:

  • Clean it regularly with a damp cloth or brush. Use an animal-free soap when necessary.
  • Remove any dirt, dust, or debris as soon as possible. This will help preserve the strength and texture of the material over time.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives on vegan leather; they can cause discoloration and damage the surface.
  • Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent fading and cracking.
  • If exposed to water, wipe off immediately with a soft towel and allow it to air dry completely before storing again.

It's also important that you avoid wearing items made of vegan leather while swimming or doing strenuous activities such as hiking or running; these activities can significantly reduce their lifespan by causing stretching, staining, or weakening of the fibers in the material. With proper care and maintenance, your vegan leather item should last for many years!

Note: Head over here if you want to learn how to properly clean faux leather.

Uses For Vegan Leather

uses for vegan leatherImage by Canva

The uses for vegan leather are endless! Whether you’re looking to invest in a new jacket, shoes, purse, or bag, vegan leather is the way to go. No longer just seen as an alternative material, vegan leather has become increasingly popular with its chic and sustainable qualities, which make it perfect for those wanting to show their commitment to ethical fashion.

Cute Leather Tote Bags for Women
Image: Black and Sand Celestial Leather Tote Bag by Raiana’s Vibes

Vegan leather bags combine style and comfort while being animal-friendly. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, so there’s something out there for everyone. From everyday backpacks to trendy clutches, they’ll bring any outfit together perfectly. Vegan leather bags are also extremely durable and water-resistant, making them ideal for work commutes or weekend getaways!

Combat Boots Women
Image: Hippie Mushroom Combat Boots from Raiana’s Vibes

If you're also on the hunt for new shoes, consider vegan leather! It's a great choice for footwear. All sorts of styles exist, from dressy oxfords to comfy sneakers, meaning your feet can stay fashionable without sacrificing comfort. Plus, these shoes require minimal maintenance too; simply wipe away dirt and mud after wearing them outside, and you’re good to go! 

And if you want something extra special, then why not opt for some vegan leather jackets? Not only do they look amazing, but their lightweight yet warm feel makes them great for layering during the winter months. 

Large Leather Zip-Around Wallets for Women
Image: Dark Cottagecore Zip-Around Wallets from Raiana’s Vibes

In addition, faux leather wallets come in a wide range of styles, colors, and designs, making them suitable for all kinds of occasions. Whether you're looking for a classic bi-fold wallet or a trendy minimalist design, you're sure to find a faux leather wallet that suits your needs.

No matter what kind of apparel you're after, investing in quality pieces made from vegan materials is always a wise choice! So why wait? Start shopping around today and find yourself the perfect ethical item that will last season after season.

Popularity And Trends

Vegan leather is taking the fashion world by storm! Not only is it stylish, but it's also a symbol of conscious efforts toward protecting our planet. Here's why it's becoming increasingly popular:

  • Rise in demand: More people are demanding sustainable products, so many businesses now offer vegan-friendly options like bags and clothes made from faux leather.
  • Growing acceptance: Vegan leather is trendy and fashionable, so it's a popular choice for eco-conscious shoppers who don't want to sacrifice style. Plus, it's available at all price points.

The vegan leather market is growing every year, and new trends are emerging all the time. From luxury designer pieces to everyday items like wallets and hats, it's clear that faux leather is a socially responsible and stylish choice. It's an exciting time for eco-friendly fashion, and vegan leather is definitely a big part of that conversation!


In short, vegan leather is a game-changer! It's a sustainable, ethical, and affordable alternative to traditional leather. Plus, it lasts a long time and comes in a wide range of textures and styles from different brands.

More and more people are learning about the environmental impact of traditional leather production and are choosing vegan leather instead. It's no wonder that this cruelty-free option is gaining popularity and becoming a major player in the fashion world.

By choosing vegan leather, we can reduce our carbon footprint without sacrificing style. Let's make a conscious effort to protect our planet and embrace this sustainable trend.


What is vegan leather made of?

Vegan leather can be made from a variety of synthetic and natural materials, including PVC, PU, and plant-based alternatives like cork, kelp, pineapple fibers (Piñatex), and apple peels

Is vegan leather eco-friendly?

The eco-friendliness of vegan leather depends on the materials used. While PVC and PU-based vegan leathers have some environmental concerns, plant-based alternatives tend to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

How durable is vegan leather compared to genuine leather?

While genuine leather is typically more durable than vegan leather, some high-quality vegan leather options can come close to matching its durability.

Is vegan leather waterproof?

Vegan leather, particularly PU and PVC leather, is generally more water-resistant than genuine leather. However, it's important to check the specific care instructions for your vegan leather item, as some may require additional protection to maintain their water resistance.

Can vegan leather be repaired?

While vegan leather can be more challenging to repair than genuine leather, some specialized techniques and products can help restore damaged vegan leather items. For significant damages, it's best to consult a professional.

How do I care for and clean my vegan leather items?

To clean vegan leather, dust and wipe down the surface with a soft cloth. For tougher stains, use a damp cloth, mild soap, or a cleaner specifically designed for vegan leather. Always follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure the best possible maintenance for your vegan leather items.