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What Is Vegan Leather, and Where Does It Come From?

Vegan leather is a material that mimics real leather, but that is created from either synthetic or plant-based materials instead of animal skins. Also called "faux" or "synthetic" leather, vegan leather is most commonly made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane (PU), two plastic polymers that help give the crinkled effect of real leather.

Over the past few years, however, PVC and PU have been falling out of favor due to the environmental challenges they can present, and have started being replaced by more sustainable materials that can be made out of natural resources such as pineapple leaves, apple peels, other fruit waste, recycled plastic, and cork.

Curious About Vegan Leather? Here's What You Need to Know

Vegan leather (also called faux leather) has, admittedly, not always had the best of reputations among fashion enthusiasts. But as the appetite for more sustainable practices continues to grow, more and more brands and designers have once again started working with the material. Perhaps once regarded as glorified plastic - and a cheap way to recreate some of our favorite '90s looks - faux leather has been transformed over the past few years.

Now one of the most talked about fabrics within the sustainability sphere, vegan leather is used by some of the most reputable sustainable brands and boutiques out there, and it's easy to see why. A far cry from what it used to be, faux leather looks and feels nearly identical to the real thing, so it's become pretty difficult to tell the difference between the two materials. And with the leather look being one of the biggest trends of 2020, the industry's newfound love for the vegan option couldn't have come at a better time.

Ahead, keep reading to learn more about what vegan leather is, where it comes from, and understand the differences between the material and its real counterpart. And if you're looking to add more vegan leather pieces to your wardrobe, we've also included some of our favorite styles for you to shop, too.


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