This is a guest post from Charlie Butler Shoes. They make great vegan friendly shoes and have a wealth of knowledge about vegan materials. We are super happy to have their contributions. Make sure you check out their upcoming Kickstarter campaign.
Answer: most likely
Fabricated leather is also sometimes referred to as artificial leather, faux leather, PU leather, or simply, “pleather”. Apart from the name, this “leather” doesn’t have anything to do with real leather. So what is it made out of?
Fabricated leather is actually an umbrella term for any material or textile that feels and flexes like leather, but isn’t real leather, so it’s hard to say without having more details. However, most vegan leathers are synthetic, and are made out of plastics.
There are two main plastics that are used: polyvinyl chloride (or PVC), and polyurethane (or PU). PVC is more sturdy, durable (it lasts ages) and generally more scratch resistant than PU. That new car smell often comes from the PVC leather car seats. PU is softer and more flexible, but feels better when worn. Both materials can be layered soft fabric like cotton to make if feel better when worn (when speaking about shoes).
Apart from PVC and PU, there are also natural textiles that are made out mushrooms, pineapple leaves, or any other plant-based fibers. Plant based fibers are sometimes combined with nylon and/or cotton to make it stronger. More and more companies are offering products such as handbags or wallets made out of these natural textiles, instead of leather.
(Pineapple leaves becoming fibers: image from ananas-anam.com)