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Vegan Leather: What is it?

vegan leather what is it

Vegan Leather, Vegetable Leather, Leather Simili, What is behind these designations?

Firstly végan leather as such does not exist! Indeed, the designation of leather is regulated by the French Consumer Code and designates a material that is necessarily derived from animal skin. A contrario "vegan"means a mode of consumption excluding all products derived from animals or their holdings. So vegan leather is an oxymore and has no meaning as such, but it makes it possible to designate all leather-like materialstrue without having any connection with any animal (this material is therefore not tested on animals either).

What are the "vegan" materials that make up the so-called vegan leather?

Synthetic materials

Synthetic materials are usually derivatives of plastic, it is the famous "leather simili" based on PVC or PU. imitation leather is a material obtained by the addition of a mixture based on plasticizer from petroleum and vinyl powder to fabric. This treatment is done in several layers so that this material has the appearance of "true" leather. However, this type of production requires the use of several derivatives of plastic which can release toxins dangerous to the environment and humans in contact with this material.

According to Philippe Denis, lecturer in the graduate school of fashion, the majority vegan leathers remain petroleum by-products, thus having a high carbon footprint.

Plant material

In recent years, in parallel with the vegan trend, there has been the emergence of new plant-based materials imitating leather. Thus it is possible to find wrong leathers made with pineapple leaves, mushrooms, apples, tea, or sap.

Small zoom on the best known of them:

  • The piñatex

Created in the 90 years, the Piñatex is born following studies conducted by Carmen Hijosa. This type of végan leather is derived from the felting of the fibres contained in the pineapple leaves. The pineapple leaves used for this vegan leather are only waste related to the pineapple harvest. So this technique is a sustainable technique because it does not require planting something new. Contrary in imitation leather synthetic material, Piñatex is a breathable material, but is not currently used in textiles.

  • The muskin

Resulting from the contraction between Mushroom and Skin which means in French mushroom and skin, Muskin is a "vegan leather"which uses the hat of a large parasitic fungus named Fomitiporia ellipsoideus that grows in subtropical forests. One of the advantages of this material is that it too is breathable like traditional leather, it is able to absorb and release water molecules. However it vegan leather at present, it remains an expensive material to produce and difficult to obtain because only one company, "Grado Zero," produces it.

  • A little last to finish!

Grape leather is a type of vegan leather which is manufactured with waste from the wine industry. The company Vegea, based in Italy (a country which produces no less than 18% of world production), had the idea of using grape marc (the residue that remains after the grape has been pressed) to make it a material similar to the leather. It vegan leather is still very recent and is not commercialized, we begin to see the first prototypes through the creations of Tiziano Guardini. In Italy, 7 billion kilos of marc are produced each year and, if processed, up to 3 billion square metres of végan leather may well see the light of day. The company even received the Global Change award from the H & M Foundation.



We are therefore witnessing a real desire on the part of consumers and businesses alike to act positively on the planet by changing the way we consume. However, it seems to us important to mention that, even today on vegan leathers based on plants, more than half of the composition of these materials is a resin derived from petrochemistry, which therefore has a significant impact on the environment. This resin makes it possible to increase the strength of these materials. But we remain confident, within a few years the techniques will probably have evolved and allow to remove these plastics from these vegan leathers.


How to recognize a vegan leather or an animal leather?

Most of the"vegans leathers"are certified by labels to ensure that the products do not have contact with the animal holding. The best known and one of the oldest vegan label is the Vegan Society.

Visually vegans leathers can deceive more than one! Indeed, the vegans leathers undergo an impression before being marketed making their appearance truly similar to leather. This is particularly true for the pineapple or grape leather. However, it should be noted that leather made from animal skin can have a nice patina over time (especially if it is made of animal skin).a vegetable tanning leather) in contrast to végans leathers

To verify whether the material in question is leather or of vegan leather, you just need to feel the latter. This test (although unconventional) will allow you to quickly know what type of leather it is. A room in true leather will have that smell of leather that we all know. Conversely, one végan leather will be either odourless or will have a smell of plastic or chemical products, this is particularly the case for synthetic Simili-hides.

And is vegetable leather the same as vegan leather?

You will have understood the vegan leather is not to be confused with the plant leather or leather to plant tanning. Indeed when we talk about this type of leather we talk about "real" leather therefore derived from animal skin which is however tanner with organic tannins and not more polluting mineral tannins. To be relentless on the difference between chromium tanning and vegetable tanningclick here.

To Charlie Paris we do not currently have a vegan leather bracelet. If the animal cause is important to you, we develop watch bracelets respectful of the latter. This is how we have Milanese or Nylon mesh bracelets who they are vegansand who will marry perfectly with ourmen's automatic watches orourwomen's automatic watches, which are allMade in France watches


vegetable leather bag

leather wristband watch

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