Vegan leather: It's soft, moisture resistant and it can be eco-friendly...depending on how it is made! And well, it looks exactly like leather! That makes it the perfect solution for you and your babe when you're out and about and need a chic bag to carry your diaper changing pads and other essentials. Or, it's perfect when you want a particularly stylish handbag, jacket, backpack or luggage tag to complete your look as a fierce, fashionable mama.
We'll break down the ins and outs of vegan leather so you can learn exactly what makes it such a functional alternative to real leather.
The Jetsetter Boss Backpack is made from vegan leather.
What is Vegan Leather?
Simply put, vegan leather is a product that's designed to look and feel like leather but uses no animal skin. It doesn't smell or develop a patina like leather made of animal products, but it can feel just like it. Depending on the grade and manufacturing process used, vegan leather has the same softness and flexibility you get from leather.
Vegan leather can be made from a multitude of man-made and natural materials. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane (PU) are the most common materials used. There are also other eco-friendly alternative materials used, such as recycled plastic.
Products made from these materials maintain the sleek, refined look you expect while being animal-friendly!
How is Vegan Leather Made?
A plastic substance like PVC or PU is combined with a textile base, usually cotton or polyester. These fabrics are often quite rough and porous, so they are usually manufactured specifically for making faux leather. The plastic is created in a process that uses salt, petrochemicals and heat. PU requires a few more additives than PVC to make it flexible. Binding the textile to the plastic is achieved by melting the two substances together. Once bound, the artificial leather can be cut into the desired size and shape.
Just like real leather, faux leather is crafted in various qualities. Some are softer and more flexible than others, with higher quality products lasting longer.
Vegan vs. Real
Vegan leather comes close to the real thing, but there are some differences. From a distance, you probably won't be able to tell them apart. However, one of the biggest differences is the smell: animal leather has a distinctive smell that you won't find in alternatives.
Most other differences come down to the quality of the animal-friendly option you choose. If you choose a high-quality product, you'll enjoy many of the same benefitsand at a much lower price point!
Benefits of This Type of Material
Real leather may seem superior, but faux leather has a lot going for it. First, it's an ethical alternative to leathers made from animal skins: cowhide is not used to produce it. And, depending on how it's manufactured, vegan leather can be a sustainable alternative. It doesn't put as big of a hole in your wallet either, as vegan leather is less expensive than the real thing. But the biggest benefit is its care and maintenance, especially when you have little ones!
Maintenance and Care
You can't get traditional leather wet (at least you shouldn't, if you want to preserve its quality). Not so with vegan leather! While it's not exactly waterproof, it's certainly moisture-resistant and easy to clean. It definitely won't soak up the spills and spit up that you'll frequently encounter as a new mama! Just use a mild soap with a damp cloth to wipe it away. Problem solved!
Common Vegan Leather Products
Lots of products, including cute baby accessories, are made from vegan leather. Bags of all sorts are made from it: handbags, diaper bags, backpacks, duffels, and more. You'll also find it in garments like shoes, belts, and jackets. Furniture is another common use for faux leather.
Made from plastic polymers or organic materials, vegan leather is a cruelty-free product. It also costs less than real leather and is much easier for busy mamas to clean. Plus, it's used in some really great baby gear. See for yourself by checking out our collection of vegan leather diaper bags and backpacks!