Leather is universally known and loved as a hallmark of luxury, quality and heritage. The sweet, slightly pungent smell of new leather evokes feelings of comfort and warmth.
This attachment to leather is less about the quality of the material itself and more about nostalgia–we cling to anything that reminds us of a time before technology made everything easier. We value craftsmanship and the human touch.
Historically, shoes and other goods were all made of leather and other natural fibres. But with higher demand and technological advancement came cost-effective alternatives like synthetic leather, or pleather.
Made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane (PU), high quality faux leather should stand 200,000 rubs or 54 years, while real leather can stand for 100,000 rubs or 27 years. Although technically more durable than the real thing, we still turn our noses up at it.
The only way we can stand to own anything faux is if we attach some benevolent meaning to it–in more elitist circles, it has adopted the name “vegan leather.” Animal-friendly Stella McCartney famously only uses faux leather for all her designs.
But we want more logical (and honest) reasons to consider pleather. If we were presented with 2 identical handbags of the same price, what would make us want to pick up the faux one over the real one?
1. Pleather is water-resistant.
The very thing that makes pleather undesirable–its lack of breathability–is what makes it versatile and durable. If it gets wet, simply wipe it down and let it dry. When real leather gets wet, the integrity of the material is compromised. Moisture might also encourage the growth of molds and mildew on your designer tote.
2. Pleather can be cleaned easily.
Because pleather does not absorb liquids and is more resistant to stains, a quick wipe with a damp washcloth is all it takes. Real leather requires cleaning oils and stain-removing chemicals.
3. Pleather is UV resistant.
Real leather breaks down and cracks after enough exposure to the sun. It is skin, after all. You wouldn’t bake your face and not expect premature ageing.
4. Pleather is lighter.
For a bag of the same size, pleather is much lighter. You can carry more stuff without ending the day with a sore shoulder.
5. Pleather is available in infinite colour variations.
Yes, leather can be dyed in various colours, but they tend to not be as intense as coloured pleather. The dyes also fade faster in real leather. Buying faux is the time to go crazy with colour. It’s better to buy real leather in neutral colours.
6. Pleather is cheaper.
The very thing that makes women feel unspecial when carrying a faux leather bag is what makes it so trend-friendly. A lower price tag allows more regular seasonal purchases. Save your most expensive real leather purchases for timeless designs.