In this post, I’ll be discussing modern leather alternatives and my journey to embrace them.
I was brought up to wear leather rather than leather substitutes and I understand why. 30 odd years ago, leather alternative clothing and accessories didn’t have a great reputation. They usually didn’t last long, shoes were uncomfortable, and they weren’t as good as the “real deal.” My parents were cost-conscious vegetarians and animal rights advocates, however, like most new parents, wanted to buy clothing that was the best for me. They kitted me out in gorgeous sheepskin gloves and cute leather Mary-Janes.
Leather lasts. Leather breaths. Leather is waterproof. Over time, a leather shoe moulds to your foot’s shape. Unfortunately, leather is made from a dead animal and, having been a vegetarian all my life, it doesn’t make sense for me to wear the skins of critters I don’t eat.
I still remember my first dalliance with a pleather bag. Ten years ago, I bought a CHLOE imitation bag from PRIMANI (Primark) and after a week, the “leather” on the side against my body had sloughed off. Rather than looking into better quality leather alternatives, I went back to my old “Genuine Leather” ways while muttering about throw-away fashion, wastage, and how my parents were right. It’s only been over the last couple of years that I’ve started learning about modern leather alternatives.
Fast forward to 2016 and a few things have changed. Leather alternatives have vastly improved in quality and wearability. We now have the luxury of lots more information about where products are from and how they are made. One thing hasn’t changed for me: my parents’ dedication to good value with longevity.
I have highlighted a few interesting leather alternatives:
Lorica is a high-tech microfibre with similar properties to leather. It’s very light, breathable, hard-wearing, and water repellent. The fabric is often used for sports shoes such as Always Riding’s cycling shoes. Apparently, it improves with age like leather but I don’t have anything made out of Lorica yet to confirm that.
Koskin is commonly used for computer laptop cases. It is very similar to the Swedish (koskinn) and Danish (koskind) words for cowhide/leather, which could confuse consumers.
This fabric has the usual waterproof and durable features. Polyurethane can also be dry cleaned and is lighter than real leather. I remember a leather satchel I picked up at a boot fair (swap meet) that I used for school. It was a beautiful bag but it was SO heavy to carry! Polyurethane is used for bags, spandex, and is added to swimming costumes for buoyancy.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
PVC is a synthetic leather that is commonly referred to as pleather. PVC is valued for its fade and stain resistance. Unfortunately, researchers have indicated that PVC is not environmentally friendly due to its [noxious] chemical properties.
Brand Spotlight – Angela Roi
I recently came across the company Angela Roi. Their bags are cruelty-free and made out of polyurethane, which is referred to as “vegan leather.” I’ve been using one of their bags for over a month now and am happy to say that the leather hasn’t sloughed off. I’m not looking to pass it off as real Leather, but have received compliments from people who thought the bag was genuine, which shows how far the technology creating these materials has progressed. If you’re interested in looking at other vegan bags Angela Roi offers, click here. I am wearing the “Morning” cross body bag in Mud Grey.
Do you know of any other good quality leathers alternative companies? I know lots of high street stores offer fake leather bags but the quality is usually akin to my PRIMANI bag. I would love to hear about your go-to leather alternative companies.
Update 11/11/16 – For 10% off all Angela Roi orders use the code – JessicaP10
Please note – Purchase must be made on the Angela Roi site, sale items are not included, and this offer expires 30/11/16