Leather has always been on the top of the list for many people who wish to use it as a fabric for clothing, upholstery or to make crafts. However, the rising cost of genuine leather and the ever-increasing awareness of animal cruelty norms has fortunately paved the way for the development of a fabric that is very much like real leather, but is man-made. Synthetic leather is a more cost-effective and animal-friendly substitute to the real thing. It has almost all the same qualities of genuine leather. This article will tell you about the different kinds of synthetic leather.
What is Synthetic Leather
Synthetic leather, as the name suggests, is a leather fabric that is synthetically manufactured. This means that it is a man-made fabric that uses only man-made ingredients and does not involve any natural elements in its manufacture, as is the case with genuine leather. This type of leather can also be called artificial leather, faux leather, imitation leather, blended leather, etc. All these names imply that it is not pure leather, but a substitute for it.
Types of Synthetic Leather
Synthetically prepared leather needs to undergo a lot of processes before the final product is ready. There are many processes by which synthetic leather can be manufactured. Given below are some of the most commonly used methods for its preparation.
Synthetic leather made from plastic is one of the most widely manufactured and used types. In the preparation of this type of leather, a fabric is covered with a coat of plastic. This takes on the appearance of glossy leather. Plastic leather is a very durable alternative to genuine leather. Unlike pure leather, it does not fade. It is also quite strong and durable. However, it is not very skin-friendly and also cannot be dry-cleaned or washed easily, making it unsuitable for use in garments.
Poromeric leather is quite similar to plastic leather in its preparation. It is an amalgamation of different synthetic fabrics, to come up with one that looks and feels like genuine leather. It involves a layer of polyurethane, which is coated over a layer of a polyester fabric. The final product is porous and has a glossy sheen to it. It is very durable, just like real leather. It is also an extremely breathable fabric. Hence items like boots, etc. can be made from it.
Leatherette is another type of synthetic leather which makes use of plastic and fabric. However, in this case, the fabric can either be a natural one or a synthetic one. It is very strong and requires little to no maintenance. It does not fade easily either, as opposed to real leather. It is very widely used in cars today. Earlier, it was used for book binding and in cameras. Leatherette is not porous and hence, no air can pass through it. This also makes it unfit for use in clothing, as it does not allow sweat to leave the fabric. It gets collected and can cause severe harm to the skin.
Synthetic leather is preferred by people for more reasons than genuine leather. While its durability and strength are as good as genuine leather, it is less expensive compared to pure leather. Some types can also be easily cleaned and do not require too much maintenance. It can be used to make so many different things, just like genuine leather. These include fabric for upholstery, clothing, bags, and other goods. Also, it does not harm nature in any way. So, next time, instead of insisting on the real thing, go for an imitation instead.