What is Faux Leather? Know All About Faux Leather
Apr 12 , 2022

What is Faux Leather? Know All About Faux Leather and Its Types!

faux leather upholstery

Faux leather is exactly what this fabric sounds like – it is fake leather. Over the past few years, faux leather has taken the market by storm and now it is gaining popularity in households all around the globe.

This is mostly because people are now preferring non-violent products over animal products. Initially, on the face of it, you might not be capable of distinguishing the difference between real and this fake leather.

However, there are numerous distinct differences between real leather and faux leather that may surprise you. Today we are going to discuss if you should go for faux leather over real leather or not. But before that, let us know in detail about faux leather below.

What is Faux Leather?

Faux leather or fake leather is among numerous common names from synthetic leathers. These terms are sometimes, used for describing specific utilization of synthetic leather items such as faux leather (chair, headboard upholstery, and sofa), koskin (goods for the consumer), and leatherette (clothing, auto upholstery). There are 3 primary types of faux leather: Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC leather– “Vinyl”, polyurethane or “PU” leather, and silicone leather.

Vinyl synthetic leathers have been formed in the US since the 1940s. In the beginning, it was used for products like shoes, upholstery, and automobile interiors. However, in the late 1950s, some chemical companies like DuPont as well as other companies started making polyurethane items. But silicone upholstery materials are comparatively new having been presented in 2010.

So, as you now know what Faux leather exactly is, now it is time for the types of faux leather. Let's dig into the various types available in the faux leather category.

Types of Faux Leather

vinyl upholstery fabric

3 kinds of faux leathers primarily are used in several furniture upholstery. The 3 types are Silicone, PVC, and PU. These leathers are utilized in making upholstery, clothing, and covers for many products, but each has particular applications that make the leathers better than others. So, let’s have a clear idea of these 3 types below...

PU Leather

faux leather fabric for shoes

PU leather is more flexible, breathable, and softer than the other two types, so it is more commonly applied for creating high-wear items, such as upholstery and clothing (surfaces that will get direct contact with our skin).

Makers of PU leather apply a polyurethane finish. Once it is done, they stamp a leather pattern over the top to make a leather finish appearance.

These patterns of PU leather are usually very uniform when you take a close look at them, but from a distance, they will look almost like real leather.

PVC Leather

faux leather upper

Vinyl or PVC isn’t as breathable as PU leather, but this’s often perfect for items that need to resist moisture like cases for electric devices or book bindings.

PVC Leather or Vinyl blends polyvinyl chloride with plasticizers, lubricants, and stabilizers to make a material that applies to the base resources like cotton, polyester, rayon, or nylon. This leather’s appearance is very uniform like PU. Such leathers are perfect for low-cost upholstery.

Silicon Leather:

faux suede lining

Silicone leather is appropriate for almost any application as it has the advantages provided by both PVC leather and PU leather.

How Is Faux Leather Fabric Used?

faux leather jacket

Faux leathers are a direct substitute for genuine leather, and therefore, it’s used for almost the same applications for which people use real leather. For example, upholstery is among the record common applications of fake leather-like faux leather. Car seats, sofas, coffee tables, and chairs are all commonly made with synthetic leather covers, and this material is similarly used in some kinds of wall hangings too.

In the industry of accessories and apparel, manufacturers commonly use faux leather in

● handbags

● boots

● shoes

● gloves

● hats, and so many more.

This material is also widespread in outerwear apparel such as jackets, but it does not resist genuine leather as well as elements. Other instances of faux leather usage include

● briefcases

● suitcases

● camera cases

● watchbands, and

● smartphone cases.

Pros Of Faux Leather

faux leather vinyl

Faux leather delivers a wide range of benefits. These would consist of the following:

Do Not Use Animal Products

Faux Leathers don’t use any animal hide for its base material. Thus, in case you’re a person who loves to wear leather clothes, but also would like to evade harming animals, then vegan or faux leather is the perfect viable option for you.

Less Sensitive to Chemicals

Faux leather not only avoids using animal hides, but it is also less sensitive to chemicals as well as you can clean it much easier than genuine leather items.


Faux leather is usually way more affordable as compared to real leather.

Low Maintenance

You can easily wipe off dirt using warm water and a rag. Unlike real leather, it doesn’t retain moisture, thus, faux leather products won’t become cracked or warped.


It is very durable and long-lasting. Faux leather can endure scrapes and scratches that would ruin real leather. It’s not prone to peel easily or crack like real leather. It won’t fade away as easily as real leather in ultraviolet (UV rays) light and it is stain resistant.

Consistent Appearance

Unlike real leather, faux leather will deliver a uniform appearance from beginning to end since all the parts come from similar stock.


Faux leathers come with an enormous range of patterns and textures. Additionally, as faux leather is made with a synthetic material, manufacturers can dye a rainbow of colors which makes the leather more fashionable. This approach lets you have more freedom while decorating commercial or residential interiors.

Cons of faux leather

faux leather vinyl fabric

Faux Leather comes with some disadvantages too when you compare it to genuine leather. It doesn’t breathe, stretches, or wear like real leather. Such fabric is durable than real leather but it doesn’t develop similar patina and luster over time like real leather. Moreover, faux leather doesn’t tear or puncture resistant like genuine leather. Let’s now know some other disadvantages of Faux leather below…

● Does not hold its luster for a long time

● Faux leather, particularly PVC leather, isn’t breathable. Although PU leather is breathable to some extent but not like real leather

● Although the manufacturer has highly adapted faux leather over time to make it durable, it still does tear or crack easily as compared to genuine leather.

● This material is prone to tear and puncture

● The processing of creating faux leather produces a large amount of ecological waste that harm animals in an indirect way

● Faux leather material isn’t hypo-allergenic when compared to genuine leather.

Is Faux or Vegan Leather Upholstery Right For Me?

faux leather fabric for clothing

Faux leather is the right option for you only if you want to go for a cheap, low-maintenance fabric that does not use any animal hides.

But when you want the product to last long then it is better to go for real leather over faux leather. This is because faux leather won’t last as long as genuine leather or as bonded leather. Both real leather and bonded leather have more longevity than faux leather.

And unlike faux leather, real leather is more durable and does not come with harmful chemical products that can harm the environment. So, if you have more budget then definitely go for real leather over faux leather.


The production of faux leather generally harms the environment. Although artificial leather making prevents direct harm to nature and animals, ironically it is harming animal life by the stable build-up of this non-biodegradable substantial in the environments.

The making of the fossil fuel results in faux leather production, like ethylene, which unavoidably introduces toxic materials into our surrounding environments, and petroleum which is a restricted resource that is only available by drilling, is harming surrounding animal life and plant.

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