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Vegan Leather: What it is, what it is made of and Types

Thanks to vegan leather, it is now possible to implement other sustainable alternatives and replace the use of the skin of any animal. However, for many vegan leather is an unknown material, because they do not really know what it is. That is why, here we will address everything you need to know about vegan leather. Stay and don't miss anything!

What is vegan leather?

Vegan leather is a leather of vegetable or synthetic origin, since it is not made with animal skin. However, the impact that each one generates on the planet is different.

On the other hand, anything that is produced with vegan leather, whether synthetic or vegetable fibers, should not be defined as leather . However, this description was adopted by marketing professionals to convince vegans that they are actually getting a product that is just as strong as animal-derived leather.

What is vegan leather called?

Vegan leather is also known as faux leather, vegan leather, faux leather, PU leather, and artificial leather. All of these names somewhat describe what would be another choice similar to real leather, but the difference is that it is not made from animal skin.

Synthetic leather, ecological leather, vegan leather and leatherette, is it the same?

The answer is no, why? Next, we will address the definition of each type of leather.

Synthetic leather

It is a material of industrial origin, made with fabric covered with plastic material such as polyurethane (PU).

Ecological leather or leatherette

It is genuine leather that comes from a by-product of animal origin, which goes through a vegetable tanning process, with methods that generate less impact on the environment, workers and consumers.

Vegan leather

It is made of leatherette and plastic. Leatherette is a plastic material that comes from petroleum, which means that it is polluting, so it is not considered ecological.

Now, there is also vegetable vegan leather , a leather completely different from vegan leather. The difference is that vegan vegetable leather is made with materials of vegetable origin and in its manufacturing process it does not use toxic or chemical products.

It is important to mention its existence, because it is often believed that vegan leather is ecological , however, this is not necessarily the case, since plastic from petroleum, a highly polluting material, is used for its manufacture.

How long does vegan leather last?

Vegan leather can be one of the best alternatives, however, this type of material is not very durable . Its useful life, if it is kept in good condition, is from 2 to 5 years . If we compare it with the duration of real leather, it can last around 10 to 20 years. This is a fact that you should consider if you do not want to spend your money on leather products of animal origin.

What is vegan leather made of?

Man makes vegan leather

The most common materials for their manufacture are polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane (PU), plastic-based materials. On the other hand, there are also different types of vegan leathers, made with rubber, cork, grape leather, mushroom leather, pineapple body, and apple leather.

There is also the mixture of all fruits, which is known as fruit leather. There are even other options with waxed cotton, paper, coffee leather, tree bark leather, nettle leather, and lab-grown leather.

Vegan leather is produced with various chemicals and industrial methods completely different from conventional leather manufacturing.

Types of vegan leather

types of vegan leather


1. Carmen Hinojosa's piñatex

Vegan skin produced with the skin of the pineapple. It is a vegan leather used by many brands to make boots, sandals, among others, due to its incredible resistance.

2.Corn leather

It is produced with a fiber obtained from corn, which offers as a final result an elegant and light finish, perfect for handbags, boots, among others.

3. Mushroom or muskin leather

It is a resistant vegan leather, produced with the upper part of mushrooms, ideal for making garments and bags.

4. Grape leather

Manufactured with grapes obtained from the wine industry. The by-product that is discarded is dried and from there the vegan grape leather is obtained. It is so resistant that it is used for car upholstery.

5.Coffee leather

The German brand Nat-2 was the first to make vegan leather with only seeds and plant residues, managing to produce a pair of shoes. Since then many brands have joined in as well, creating their own methods for making coffee leather.

Advantages of leather I see I win

  • Vegan leather prioritizes the welfare of animals, promoting their protection.
  • It is less expensive than traditional leather, so you will have the possibility to purchase vegan leather clothing and items at affordable prices.
  • It is common for vegan leather to be uniform, so it is free of scars, infections, insect bites, among others. Allowing the cut of the leather to have a better appearance.
  • You can find many textures and colors of vegan leather, since it is considered the most customizable leather.

Disadvantages of vegan leather

  • It may be beneficial because it does not promote animal slaughter. However, it is harmful to the environment and to people, since toxic products and poisons in plastics are used for its manufacture.
  • It is generally much thinner than animal skin leather, making it ideal for various products and the world of fashion. However, it is also one of its great disadvantages, because a product made with quality vegan leather can last a maximum of 1 or 2 years.
  • It is not breathable, so wearing shoes or jackets for a long period of time can cause you to sweat a lot. Defect that real leather does not have, since the skin has pores that allow it to breathe.

How to recognize a garment made with vegan leather?

Take into account its color, texture and smell , since these are key factors that will allow you to recognize if the garment is really vegan leather.

On the other hand, it may be obvious to you, but checking the label is one of the easiest options to identify if the garment you are purchasing is vegan leather.

Check all the clothes! Jackets, bags, everything! Search for keywords like “vegan leather”, “handmade materials” or “polyurethane”.

Other more sustainable alternatives to vegan leather

If you are looking for sustainable clothing, the best option for you is this vegan bag made of organic cotton from Clotsy Brand . Great for college, work, a date, anything! Its color and size of 40 cm wide and 35.5 cm high make these bags such a versatile and essential option for your day to day.

We show you our favourite :

Its charming blue color is perfect to combine with all the basic clothes in your closet and even with your shoes.

In our sustainable store you can also opt for recycled flip flops and thus be able to dress from head to toe in a sustainable way. For this reason, we suggest you put together a whole look with our catalog of sustainable clothing. Do you accept the challenge?


Without a doubt, recognizing that there are so many types of vegan leather is impressive. Therefore, it is important that you do not confuse the definitions of each type of leather , because the term vegan, ecological and synthetic leather may seem to be the same, but it is not. Therefore, it is crucial that you know the difference between each one.

On the other hand, the best thing you can do is opt for vegan leathers that do not harm animals or the environment. If your goal is to have a sustainable and ecological lifestyle, it's time to become aware!

And if you accept this new stage of sustainability , you would be helping to promote fair trade . What are you waiting for to be part of this ecofriendly fashion? Cheer up !

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Author: Clotsy Brand Team

Clotsy Brand is made up of a team of committed people with the caring for the planet and ethical fashion production. All Clotsy garments are produced in local workshops in Spain and Portugal, using sustainable materials that take care of both the planet and the skin of their customers. We value the opinion of our community, so we are always close to them and willing to listen to their ideas and opinions through different channels, such as Instagram, Telegram, Email and Tiktok.


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