"Vegan" in English means a movement with a militant dimension for the protection and defense of animal rights.
Unlike vegetarians and vegans, the vegan does not limit his activism to his diet, thus refusing any form of exploitation of animals and prohibiting any consumption of animal products whatsoever in food (meat, fish, milk, eggs, honey, etc.), but also cosmetics (beeswax, etc.) or fashion (wool, leather, silk, etc.) with the aim of also protecting the environment. environment of the consequences of this exploitation.
This relatively widespread movement in the United States gave birth to a vegan fashion which, thanks in particular to the involvement of a few stars, is particularly popular across the Atlantic (Stella McCartney is one of those who only offer vegan leather in their collections).
And no wonder: vegan leather is versatile. From motorcycle jackets of all cuts and colors to the perfect little black dress, there is a vegan leather version.
In addition, there are now different alternatives to leather based on:
Synthetic fibers such as polyurethane or PVC: imitation leather, skai but also Lorica, chamude, clarino and amara.
Recycled plastic: for example inner tubes or other synthetic materials which are recycled in the form of bags and other accessories.
Plant materials: such as cork, flax or hemp.
Among the plant alternatives, note that cork can be shaped like leather and allows many items to be produced using an ecological process: bags, belts, shoes and even jewelry!
We should also mention Muskin leather, made from vegetable fiber (flax or hemp) and mushrooms, or Pinatex, an amazing material made from pineapple fiber!
All of these materials are not of animal origin but rather imitate the appearance of leather.
For vegan people, it is becoming easier to reconcile chic and ethical!
What is "real" leather?
Genuine leather is made from the skin of animals, often cows, deer and horses ...
The skin of the animal must be tanned to be transformed into usable leather, and this is done in a tannery.
Vegetable tanning leather
Vegetable or mineral tanned leather Tanning: consists of transforming the skin of the dead animal at the slaughterhouse into a rot-resistant and resistant material. For this, there are different types of tanning.
Called mineral tanning, chromium tanning, considered to be the most efficient process, is the most widespread (more than 80% of world production) because it is inexpensive and rapid but extremely toxic to humans and the environment.
There is also vegetable tanning which, much longer and more expensive, consists in using tanning agents from vegetable sources (wood bark, roots, leaves, fruit, etc.) nevertheless nevertheless chemically modified most often (but remains without comparisons less toxic. than chrome tanning). The final result is different with a visibly more natural leather and less covered surface which fortunately is rather in line with current trends.
The fact is that the leather industry today is one of the most polluting industries on the planet.
For leather enthusiasts, it would therefore be great to favor leather with "vegetable tanning" or "natural tanning".
The alternative to vegan leather
The designation vegan leather, therefore corresponds to a textile imitating the appearance of leather and having the same uses but completely free of animal material.
More or less ecological, depending on the materials, it remains the best alternative to animal leather, for anyone who cares about animal welfare and the environmental impact.
Polyurethane leather was created to have the same look and feel as animal leather, while being a little lighter.
By looking more closely, it becomes clear that a large number of garments are not made of genuine leather but of PU.
PU is the abbreviation for polyurethane, a tear-resistant polymer, which can still be very elastic.
The most common way to create PU leather is to use polyurethane plastic to coat it and apply it on a fiber base (usually polyester).
PU leather can be combined with real leather in a form called bi-molded leather. Bi-molded leather can use a split leather base which is then covered with a layer of PVC or PU.
Polyurethane is not as durable as animal leather and tends to tear more easily, but it does not crack when exposed to the sun, unlike some real leathers. This is why it is frequently used for coatings of automobile interiors.
Polyurethane leather can also be produced in a greater variety of colors, patterns and styles than real leather. It is also easier to apply a gloss finish.
As for maintenance, PU leather does not need it, just clean it with a damp cloth.
On the other hand, PU leather is not as biodegradable as real leather and does not dry out over time. It is UV resistant and does not discolor as easily.
Of course, PU leather is not as breathable as animal leather.
But nevertheless, it lets the skin breathe and thus increases the feeling of comfort, unlike other types of synthetic leather, such as PVC.
While real leather tends to become more beautiful and softer over time, this is not the case with PU leather, which will retain a consistent appearance throughout its life.
Finally, PU leather is downright cheaper than real leather.
What are the advantages of vegan leather?
Most vegan leathers are made from recycled materials. Which in addition to a vegan brand, makes it an environmentally responsible brand: they do not use leather which the industry is extremely polluting and even recycle plastic bottles.
Consuming “vegan leather” therefore seems to be a considerable virtue.
However, followers of "real" leather will not fail to criticize artificial leather for its lack of nobility.
While real leather will relax, regain shape, adapt to its environment and its use, artificial leather will remain "neutral".
It is also a material that requires fewer successive treatments, intermediaries and know-how, resulting in less marked preciousness.
Besides, artificial leather shares the same characteristic as real leather: there are all kinds of qualities.
In the same way that there are leathers from mediocre skins, tanned in a hurry and roughly finished, there are also more or less interesting artificial leathers.
Here as elsewhere, the panel ranges from (very) low-end to ultra-luxury ...
Leather-look clothing and accessories are a true affirmation of his personality while respecting his convictions, very practical and suitable for everyday use.
Many brands, among the largest, have collections in synthetic materials. Have you ever wondered what was hidden under a certain monogram of a prestigious French luxury house? And yet they are products of extraordinary refinement and beauty.
We therefore invite you to discover the vegan fashion collections from a different perspective.