Vegan Leather: What It Is and Why It Belongs in Your Closet

What’s so great about vegan leather? Only everything. Number one, it’s not made from the skins of dead animals. Plus, it’s easier on the planet—and très chic.

But what is it?

Most vegan leather is made of polyurethane, a polymer that can be made to order for any designer’s whim. It can sparkle, have a nice glossy sheen, or be saturated in all kinds of shades that put leather to shame.

Vegan leather contains no animal products (or by-products thereof). In theory, vegan leather is in fact faux leather simply by a different name. As vegan-friendly options pop up throughout our nutritional decisions, the fashion world has brought the buzz word over to the historically animal-cruel industry making faux anything seem cool again.

But, to be as clear as possible for everyone out there and to make sure that the next time you’re faced with the decision you have all the information you need to knock the socks off the sales person with your wealth of vegan leather knowledge.

Vegetan: a microfiber material that is specifically designed as an animal-friendly leather substitute.

Lorica: a type of artificial leather patented and manufactured by the Italian company Lorica Sud. Other companies use similar, but less legally binding, alternatives such as Birko-Flor, Birkibuc and Kydek.

PVC: bad for the environment but safe for animals, other than all of the ones currently living on earth.

Overall, vegan leather is an animal activist’s alternative to real leather. However, because no one buys clothes within a vacuum and every purchase you makes affect not only your bank account and the success of your Saturday night out, but women and children the world over, you should always make informed decisions about where you buy, what you buy and who manufactures it.

Stay smart, ladies, and you may end up just saving the world.

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