6 May 2024

Real Leather vs Vegan Leather

Leather Naturally writes on LinkedIn that what’s the difference between vegan leather and plant leather? Are either better for the planet than real leather? How do you make an informed choice?

We know it’s confusing and we know misinformation is still rife. A poll carried out by Leather UK found that only 24% of UK consumers knew that the hides or skins used to make leather are a by-product of the food industry.

Here’s some tips to help spot real leather

Smell – it should have that unmistakable leather scent. If it doesn’t, it may well be fake.

Appearance – although different leather finishing processes can alter the look and feel of the surface, most of them allow the unique nature of the specific piece of leather (what we call the grain) to show through. The structure will not be completely uniform and it is possible there will be blemishes and imperfections. If the surface is extremely smooth and consistent then that could be a sign that you’re actually looking at PVC or PU.

Feel – most real leather will have a sense of depth and some flexibility, meaning that it has a bit of give and you can gently scrunch it. While that’s not true for smart, formal shoes or a sofa, you can usually rely on smell and appearance. PCV or PU fake leather will also flex, but it will feel different, maybe a bit “harder” and no grain will show along the fold or crease line.

Price – while real leather can be extremely affordable, it usually comes in at a higher price point than PVC or PU based leather alternatives.

Find the truth about real leather.v. vegan leather debate in this Guide to Buying Leather produced by Leather UK:

About APLF

We bring leather, material and fashion businesses together: an opportunity to meet and greet face to face. We bring them from all parts of the world so that they can find fresh partners, discover new customers or suppliers and keep ahead of industry developments.


We organise a number of trade exhibitions which focus on fashion and lifestyle: sectors that are constantly in flux, so visitors and exhibitors alike need to be constantly aware both of the changes around them and those forecast for coming seasons.


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