Faux leather is popular nowadays not just when it comes to clothes, but also when it comes to sofas and other upholstery. Faux leather jackets are especially rampant as they are aesthetically pleasing and low maintenance. However, the question is, is it really worth it? What are the downsides if they are so loved by everyone? This article will explore the pros and cons of faux leather in comparison to real leather to help you decide which one is better.
What is a faux leather Jacket?
Faux leather is made out of synthetic materials like Polyurethane or PVC-Vinyl that mimic the characteristics of real leather. Just as its name suggests, faux simply means fake. It can come close to looking and feeling like real leather but it’s just not as good in more ways than one.
Are faux leather jackets good?
Maybe for aesthetics. Some people also prefer using faux leather because of the moral implications of real leather sourced from animal hide. Faux leather jackets are a good alternative to real leather jackets and they’re much cheaper. However, there are also downsides to faux leather that we’ll discuss below.
Is faux leather durable?
In some ways, they are. However, they are not as strong compared to real leather. They will resist more chemicals, but they are not as impact resistant or physically durable as real leather. Real leather will get scratched and stretched, but most of those will only be cosmetic blemishes rather than compromising the strength of the jacket.
How long will a faux leather jacket last?
Faux leather jackets will usually last 2-3 years with regular use. Exposure to the sun and heat or even time alone will weaken and deteriorate the synthetic material that the faux leather is made of. Real leather can last up to 20 years or even longer if it is a high-quality grain leather.
Is faux leather worse than real leather?
Not necessarily. It will depend on your use case. However, in terms of durability and longevity, real leather wins. Real leather also has less environmental impact. The carbon footprint of leather is quite small compared to plastic as plastic is an oil-based product. Faux leather also has a higher risk of garbage pollution when it is thrown out as it does not last as long. Chrome-tanned leather may pose a chemical pollution risk, however.
Real vs Genuine Leather
In this article, we will be referring to real leather as high-quality grain leather like top-grain and full-grain leather. Genuine leather jackets are usually not as strong and are mass-produced. Genuine leather products or split leather products also do not last as long as grain leather products. We will not be using genuine and real interchangeably.
Real vs faux leather pros and cons
The debate about whether it’s better to switch to faux leather is still ongoing today. Since the synthetic leather industry is getting better at replicating real leather, many people, especially vegans are urging real leather enthusiasts to switch to faux leather. However, the problem with imitation leather is that they don’t last very long and can contribute to environmental degradation.
At the end of the day, it’s still up to you to weigh out the advantages and disadvantages between real and fake leather. Here are some things you should know about them:
This refers to how long your leather item will last when you’re using it often or at least once a month. There are many things that make up the durability of your leather jacket such as the materials used and the conditions you are using them.
As we mentioned previously, faux leather is not very durable. Even though it is made out of plastic, the material will start to peel as early as after a year because the chemical that is used in the outer layer will dry up. The most common material used in faux leather is polyurethane and it is known for being fragile and chipping over time.
Faux leather usually only lasts 2-3 years, or even just 1-2 years if used very frequently. If you want to make your faux leather jacket last a little bit longer, check out ways you can prevent it from peeling too soon. Faux leather can also be easily punctured even with slight misuse compared to real leather which can withstand heavy usage.
Real leather is made from animal skin that is thick without needing any chemicals to give it its shine and texture. As long as you know the basics in taking care of real leather and you condition it at least once every 6 months, then you don’t need to worry about replacing your leather jacket every 6 years or so.
Chemical resistance is an important point as different types of people and situations may expose the material to different types of chemicals. It may depend on what situations you plan to use your jacket for as a deciding factor whether you should choose faux or real leather.
Even though faux leather may not last as long, they are more chemically resistant to more types of chemicals that usually destroy natural materials like many types of acids and bleaches. Hydrochloric acid does not react with plastic but it will destroy skin and flesh, which makes leather vulnerable to it.
That being said, there are chemicals that faux leather is vulnerable to, however. Plastics are quite vulnerable to acetone, petroleum jelly, and synthetic greases and oils. Plastics are oil-based products and other petroleum and oil-based products will react to plastics.
While real leather is more durable in terms of physical aspects, it is quite vulnerable to chemicals that react with flesh or meat. If the chemical burn your own skin, then it can also do the same to your leather.
Bleaches and many types of strong acids can stain and weaken the fibers of the leather so if you work with these chemicals, it’s best not to wear your jacket to work or expose it to those chemicals.
However, real leather is resistant to many types of chemicals as well. Acetone is even used by professionals to restore leather and redye it.
This is a no-brainer comparison between real and fake leather. How much a leather item costs can be a tell-tale sign of whether it’s real or fake.
One of the pros when it comes to faux leather is that it’s way cheaper compared to real leather. Since faux leather is easier to manufacture, it can be mass-produced using synthetic materials. The problem with this is that in the long run, you might be spending more than you would if you owned a real leather jacket because you will need to replace your faux leather jacket in just less than 5.
Real leather is obviously more expensive and this can be a deal breaker for some who just want to own a leather jacket– real or fake. You can consider buying a real leather jacket as an investment that will give you your money’s worth.
There are cheaper real leather products like genuine leather, but they may not last as long as high-quality leather like top-grain or full-grain.
The texture is the feeling you get when wearing or touching your leather jacket. There are both pros and cons when it comes to real vs. faux leather when it comes to texture because of the materials used in each one.
You will notice that faux leather will feel smoother when you run your hands on the surface since it is made out of plastic material. This can be a good thing because this means that it will be less absorbent compared to real leather. To add to this, faux leather is oftentimes not hypoallergenic compared to real leather materials.
On the other hand, real leather will feel rougher on your hands. It will feel less perfect and this is a good thing if you ask real leather enthusiasts. The cons when it comes to real leather material, however, is that it is more porous which means it is most likely to absorb water faster compared to faux leather.
There is not much to compare when it comes to the breathability of faux vs. real leather. One of the major downsides of owning a faux leather jacket is that it’s less breathable because it is made out of PVC. This might be good for colder areas or during winter, but faux leather jackets are just a no-no in warmer climates.
While at first glance you might not see obvious differences between real and faux leather, there are still pros and cons when it comes to this. A huge part of this is the aesthetic factor that will eventually become visible after some time of wear and tear.
Faux leather will not have the same luster as real leather. Over time, as you continue using your fake leather garments, they will start peeling. On the other hand, one of the pros of faux leather is that it can be produced in almost any color you want.
The main thing that makes real leather very appealing is that it can become a classic piece over time. As you wear your leather jacket over the years, it will develop a unique patina that you’ll never see in artificial leather materials.
Both types need to be maintained in order to last long. However, maintaining faux leather may be a futile effort as it will still degrade with frequent use and exposure to direct sunlight. Exposing real leather to direct sunlight will dry it out, but it won’t do so much as weaken the material to the point of deterioration. Real leather is even tanned in direct sunlight.
You will need to condition your leather jacket every few months, or as occasionally as once or twice a year. You may even opt to not condition it at all if you want your leather to have a distressed look. Some leather jacket enthusiasts like the weathered and rugged look of vintage, rough leather. However, this may decrease the longevity of your leather jacket, but it will have a lot of character.
If you’re one who likes to keep their jacket in great condition, then you will need to have a few products like leather cleaners, conditioners, waxes, and waterproofing sprays that you should use once in a while or as needed. You may also want to send your jacket to the dry cleaners every few months. However, if your jacket looks great but smells bad, you can check out how to remove smells from your leather jacket.
We would highly suggest you get a real leather jacket if your budget allows for it. You can even check out thrift shops for great deals on real leather jackets that you can restore at home.
Real leather jackets become a part of who you are and they become more than just a piece of clothing. Faux leather just doesn’t provide the wearer the same amount of connection as it will break down in a few years.
Does faux leather always peel?
The short answer is yes. It will always peel and there’s no way around it. You can maybe delay the cracking and peeling with proper storage and handling, but it will still eventually peel. That is why many people consider faux leather as environmentally wasteful since once they start peeling, you only have a short time left before you need to buy a new one.