When you’re looking at buying a new leather jacket, you may wonder what the difference is between faux leather and genuine leather and if it’s worth paying the price for real leather. Obviously, here at Hidepark, we definitely see the benefit of buying a genuine leather jacket. Still, knowing the difference between fake leather and real leather can help you make that important decision.
Above all else, it’s important to know exactly what faux leather actually is – what it’s made from, how it’s made & typical characteristics of the material. If you’ve heard the terms synthetic leather or artificial leather before, these are all essentially the same, just to avoid confusion!
What is faux Leather?
Faux leather is made out of a number of artificial materials that are chemically treated to provide a leather-like colour and texture. The two main methods of construction are polyurethane (known as PU leather) and polyvinyl chloride (known as PVC or vinyl). PU construction takes a polyurethane finish and applies it over a malleable base material, such as cotton or nylon, and a leather pattern is pressed into the material itself. PVC production is largely similar to PU, although additional steps are taken to form the top layer before application. Due to the method of construction, faux leather often has a uniform pattern, which is a result of the pattern-pressing process, tends to be more water-resistant than real leather, but is not as hard-wearing long-term.
What is Genuine Leather?
The real or genuine leather is processed or made from skins of animals such as goat, sheep and cows. High-quality leather products are manufactured using 100% leather, lending to a durable, long-lasting garment, although cheaper products will use a plastic base and apply a real leather layer over it; legally, this is still considered a leather product, but will not last anywhere near as long – be sure to check you’re receiving a 100% leather item.
How to tell if leather is real
Spotting the difference between real and faux leather can be difficult, however, here are some of our useful tips:
Touch the leather
The feel of the jacket is a huge giveaway. Genuine leather will feel supple, smooth and buttery. whilst a fake jacket will feel more like plastic. This is due to the two-layer construction method in faux leather products, leading to added rigidity. Real leather should be flexible and soft; if the product feels similar to plastic and has stretch in it, it is more than likely to be fake.
Smell the leather
One thing that no fake leather jacket can ever replicate is that characteristic scent of leather. Leather has a very distinctive smell (which will fade in time), whereas faux leather will have no smell or a more plastic smell. Keep in mind that the smell of leather is actually attributed to the manufacturing process – a low-quality product using inferior tanning processes can produce a less-than-pleasing odour. We ensure that only the highest-quality methods are used, ensuring you’ll be able to tell a real leather jacket from faux leather in an instant!
Look at the labels!
Possibly the most straight-forward approach, take a glance at the label on your leather jacket. This should give you a good indication of the material the product is made from. Products made of real leather will proudly say so on the label, whilst a faux leather product will have mention of PU, PVC, or other non-leather materials in large quantities.
Benefits of Real Leather
- Far more durable than faux leather
- Realistic look, feel & finish that can’t be replicated
- Will last an incredibly long time when cared for
- Better quality manufacturing
- A unique scent only leather can produce
Benefits of Faux Leather
While we always recommend a real leather jacket over alternatives, there are some benefits to faux leather items.
- More waterproof than real leather
- Cheaper to purchase than real leather products
- More colour options available
Why Choose Genuine Leather?
There is nothing like the smell or feel of genuine leather, and although you’re paying a premium price, you’re gaining a premium product in return which will last you a lifetime.
No two genuine leather garments will be exactly the same, due to the unique characteristics of that animal hide, so you can be sure you’re getting a one-off product that will grow in character as you do. Additionally, the leather becomes softer and more attractive the more you wear it.
Faux leather has around half the lifespan of genuine leather and is prone to cracks and splits, due to a combination of the two-layer construction and the faux leather material being thinner.
Genuine leather does need to be taken proper care of, however, meaning if you get things like perfume on it, you’ll need to make sure you clean this. If you’re after a cheap jacket that you don’t have to maintain, it’s probably best to opt for faux leather over a genuine high-quality leather jacket.
Shop high quality genuine leather jackets
At Hidepark, we stock a fantastic range of geniune leather jackets. Whether you are looking for leather jackets for women or leather jackets for men, we stock the style to suit any taste. Browse our range today or read our FAQs if you have an questions.