Leatherette’ is a synthetic material, the origins of which can be traced back to the 1920s when commercially viable alternatives to leather were first being actively researched. According to sohoconcept.com “It’s typically made from natural or synthetic cloth fibres coated in PVC or polyurethane and contains no animal by-products, unlike real leather which is made from animal hide treated with chemicals. This stark contrast in materials means there are many differences between leather and leatherette to consider.”

Comfort, maintenance, price

For texture and comfort, leather comes out on top and, of course, it can “add a pleasant aroma in you auto”. Who doesn’t love the smell of genuine leather? Leatherette, on the other hand, tends to get hotter in warm weather because, unlike the real thing, it doesn’t ‘breathe” in the same way. When it comes to upkeep, cars.com suggests that leather seats take more maintenance than their plastic counterparts. But most leather in cars these days comes with special treatments which add to its natural durability and stain resistance. Then again, since leatherette is plastic-based, it isn’t porous so spills can be easily wiped away. The article suggests: “This makes leatherette generally easier to keep clean than leather and it won’t require as many specialized cleaning supplies to keep it looking new.” And then there’s the price issue. Cars.com makes no secret of the fact that leather seats in your interior can cost substantially more than plastic ones but it points out that “leather upholstery does add to the resale value of a car if it’s well-maintained, and many buyers of luxury vehicles consider leather a must-have feature.”

The more sustainable option

Of course, leatherette has come a long way since its inception in the middle of the last century. Contemporary alternatives to leather such as Alcantara attempt to mimic the feel of leather much more closely but, at the end of the day, this ‘Ultrasuede’ material is still made from polyester and so it is synthetic – just like leatherette. That means it is derived from oil at the beginning of its life and will not biodegrade at the end of its life, potentially polluting the earth and impacting wildlife for literally millennia to come.

At One 4 Leather we welcome choice and freely acknowledge that people might choose alternatives to leather for all sorts of reasons. All we ask is that consumers are made aware of all the facts surrounding their choices so they can come to a balanced decision in the end.

Read full article here

This stark contrast in materials means there are many differences between leather and leatherette to consider.

As One4Leather has reported before, this sense of confusion is very real with up to 20% of consumers believing materials like MB-Tex and NuLux are leather when, in fact, they are man-made plastics.

The Portuguese move follows a similar decree by Italy in May 2020 designed to protect the term ‘leather’ adequately against misappropriation. Its law expressly forbids the use of the words for leather “pelle” and “cuoio”, even as prefixes or suffixes, to identify materials not having animal origin. So, for example, terms such as faux leather, vegan leather and synthetic leather would all be outlawed.

Meanwhile COTANCE (the main European leather industry trade body) continues to call on the EU to make national legislation like that in Portugal and Italy applicable across the whole of the European Union.

Read full articles here and here

Subscribe to our newsletter

    Your e-mail is only used exclusively for our newsletter and will not be shared with third parties.