There are two main varieties of leather available in the market. Namely being Faux leather and real/genuine leather.
The increased competition in the fashion industry and the public demand for high street fashion with affordability has raised the stakes. To meet these demands, small businesses have started manufacturing high street designs using faux leather, henceforth this material a replacement for genuine animal leather.
Faux leather is one of the fancier names used for artificial or synthetic leather. This man-made leather is constructed using two main materials; polyvinyl chloride ‘PVC’ or Polyurethane ‘PU’. PVC is also known as ‘Vinyl’.
Moreover, both of these are produced for manufacturing different types of products.
Types of Faux Leather
- PVC leather
Polyvinyl chloride is a unique form of fake leather-based synthetic via a means of changing the hydrogen institution with a chloride institution withinside the vinyl groups. The end result of this substitute is then mixed with a few different chemical compounds to create a long-lasting plastic cloth that is additionally far easier to maintain.
It is a brand of artificial leather that uses composite knit fabric and coats it with polyvinyl chloride. Usually, it is used to make upholstery etc.
- Pu leather
Polyurethane Leather is a synthetic leather-based material which is manufactured from thermoplastic polymer used for making furnishings or shoes. High-density polyurethane is fully synthetic and is taken into consideration as a vegan material.
There are several sorts of PU leather available in the market. They are referred to as bi-cast leather which has the real leather feel, however, have a polyurethane coating on the pinnacle. This kind of PU leather takes the fibrous part of cowhide which is leftover from making genuine leather and then a layer of polyurethane is positioned on the pinnacle of it.
- Vegan leather
It is frequently crafted from polyurethane (PU) which is a less harmful alternative to PVC leather. This is a polymer that is easily manufactured. It is also crafted from progressive and sustainable substances which include apple peels, cork, leaves from pineapples, different fruit waste, and recycled plastic. Therefore is used as an alternative to genuine leather.
Manufacturing Process – Genuine Leather
Manufacturers use a batch manufacturing process due to consumer demand.
- Preserving the leather
Hides are preserved to the decomposing process. Usually preserved via drying, salting and freezing.
- Warehouse operations
Preparatory stages for tanning may include:
- Soaking – The skins are placed in soaking drums for the duration of one to two days to rehydrate the leather, remove dirt, salt, and soluble proteins.
- Hair removal & Liming – at the same time the skins are treated with lime to remove the hair and to soften and enhance it.
- Deliming & Bating – During this procedure, the alkali is removed from the pelt and the consequent deswelling of the fibres.
- Bleaching – Process removes stains on the hides
- Pickling – increases the acidity to a pH of 3.
- A comparatively recent method of tanning is Chrome tanning. And by far is the most dominant. The hides are soaked in baths containing acidic salts. The tub includes metal tanning agents and therefore the acidity of the bath is bated until the surface of the hides starts gripping the chromium agents. The wet hides made from this method are blue once tanned.
- Vegetable tanning is another method of tanning hides. This process uses tannins, which occur naturally in barks and leaves. These tannins help bind to the collagen proteins in the hide and conceal them which causes them to become less water-soluble. It also makes it more resistant to bacteria attack. This tanning process also causes the hide to become more flexible.
- Tawing – a method of tanning animal hides. The cover is tawed with the aid of using soaking in a warm alum and salts solution. This increases the hide’s pliability, stretching ability, softness, and quality. Afterwards, the workers air-dry hides.
It is absolutely necessary, as it permits fat-liquoring. If it is at pH level 7, it will dissolve the binding of the tannins to the fibres in the skin and as a consequence, it will substantially lessen the sturdiness of the leather.
This is one of the final steps of leather manufacturing. They place hides between metal rollers to remove all residual water/moisture.
This is the last step. The hides go through final quality checks that include; Shaving, Dyeing, Drying, Softening and Finish.
The difference in feel and price
The major difference between faux leather and genuine animal leather can be distinguished based on the feel of the material and by the price tag.
Although there is high-quality faux leather now available in the market it still does not compare to the real material.
Genuine leather is unique, as no two hides can be the same. Each hide has its own originality. Hides carry marks, such as stretch marks which exhibit its realness.
Faux leather is, all the same, you can find sheets of this material which are uniform.
Real leather is highly durable. It lasts a lifetime and is restored if not severely damaged. However, this is not possible with faux leather.
Genuine leather has a luxuriously feel, whereas faux leather has a smooth plastic-like feel.
There is no comparison between both types of leather. If you prefer a low-quality alternative there is a variety available in faux leather.
Nonetheless, if you prefer a more mature and authentic material, animal hide leather will last you a lifetime and will gain an ambience over time.