What is Vegan Leather?

Elizabeth Roque

Posted on June 25 2019

What is Vegan Leather? 

Consider that the global synthetic leather market is predicted to hit US$85 billion by 2025. This shift, propelled by the affordability of synthetic over natural leather, is gaining reinforcement through the Facebook and Instagram feeds of millennials; searching #veganleather yields over 206,000 posts on Instagram alone — scroll through Facebook and the posts go on forever. But are these purchases better for the planet?

The vegan leather industry is dominated by fast-fashion giants who want to cycle through trends as quickly as possible. So while it may be true that buying fake leather reduces direct harm to animals, it may be redirecting harm elsewhere.

As it stands, most faux leather (or “pleather,” often used interchangeably) contains polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a versatile plastic that essentially takes forever to decompose and is highly corrosive to plants. Of particular concern to those focused on animal welfare is PVC’s tendency to biomagnify, which means its effects on animals in the wild get worse as it continues up the food chain.

Stick to natural sustainable and biodegradable materials such as Cork, Pinatex or responsibly harvested leathers from reputable sources. That in the long run will not further harm the planet. 



More Posts