What Is Vegan Leather

What Is Vegan Leather

We have all heard about leather, most of us has probably owned or are still owning leather items. However, there is something far better and more sustainable on the market and that is vegan leather. A lot of us have heard about it but perhaps we are unsure of what it is, how its made and how it differs from “genuine” leather. Let’s find out, shall we.

What Does Vegan Leather Mean

The Vegan Leather Definition would be leather that is not made by dead animals.

I’d say that pretty much sums it up.

Vegan Leather Material

So if vegan leather isn’t made out of skin from animals than what is it really made of?

The most common source of materials for vegan leather / pleather / or faux leather is PVC and PU. This is however a kind of plastic so is it really that good? We get back to that a bit further down in this article.

Vegan leather can also be made out of things like cork and mushrooms. In my honest opinion I really like the look of mushroom leather.


How Is Vegan Leather Made

Vegan leather is, like I mentioned above made by either plastic or biodegradable materials such as mushroom.

If we start with the PVC and PU leather it is usually made in a lovely process which will include a nice variety of different chemicals that will bond the plastic together, this process will create the look of leather, it might not be the most environmentally friendly, however it is kinder to the environment than the regular old way.

Mushroom leather however is by far the most realistic looking vegan leather that I have seen.

At Mycoworks they create just that, mushroom leather and the best part of it is that it is a 100% biodegradable and it is a lot nicer to our environment. Please follow the link if this has peaked your interest. (Not sponsored).

“We have created a new kind of leather grown rapidly from

mycelium and agricultural byproducts in a carbon-negative process. Our custom-engineered material is sustainable, versatile, and animal–free. Best of all, it feels and performs like leather.”


At lifegate you can also read more about this mushroom leather that is taking the world by storm.

Vegan leather is also, by far, more environmentally friendly than leather made out of carcass, cow leather is actually the most damaging fiber for our environment, it is even worse than plastic. If you want to read more about the cow industry and what it does to the environment than please read Does eating meat affect the environment.

If you want to learn more about the use of mushrooms then you might be interested in Surfboards made out of mushrooms.

Is Vegan Leather Durable

Most vegan leather will act like regular leather. I could bet that, pretty much all of us, has at one point or another had faux leather made out of plastic. It is most likely pretty waterproof and it does the trick. It looks like, acts like and kind of feels like real leather. Vegan leather might even be more durable than real leather, especially if we are talking about the one made out of PVC and PU, that leather can last you a lifetime.


Vegan Leather VS Real Leather

What is real leather

Real leather is made out of the skin of dead animals such as cows, sheep, pigs, alligators, kangaroos, goats, ostriches, cats and dogs. A lot of these animals are raised to become a leather item, their lives are a lot of the time filled with suffering and abuse just to end up as patch on pants, as a bag, jacket or gloves. Perhaps you are even decorating your cars interior with the exterior of someone else.

How is real leather made

Animals are raised in, not always good conditions, their lives valued by how much money they will be able to supply. Any excessive treatment or care is view as unnecessary as it will only depreciate the final value. The animal will be killed, sometimes, before their skin is peeled of their bodies, there are cases where the animals have been reported to still be alive while their skin gets torn of their bodies. All the flesh needs to be removed and it than needs to be salted, chemicals can also be used to remove any hairs from the actual leather.


Real leather animal cruelty

A lot of people seem to view leather as a sign of high standard but the truth is that it actually comes from torment and abuse. Several documentaries show animals being violated in the worst possible ways, beaten and abused. I remember watching this documentary about cows being raised for leather in India. They would be left without food and water, being forced to walk for long distances, transported in the heat, when the cows were on the verge of dying, they basically had no strength left, the workers would break their tails to get them up and keep them moving, into the slaughter houses, where they were brutally massacred one in front of the other.

I am pretty sure most of us has even seen the videos of cats, dogs and other small animals, being tied up and skinned alive. For what?


I refuse to believe that people are actually so ignorant that we refuse that we just ignore the treatment of animals. I do however believe that we do not fully understand what goes into the different products that we use. When we hear the word leather we do not view this out of the perspective of the animal or see where it actually comes from or how it has been made and under what conditions. We only see it as a piece of “fabric” in front of us.

The issue is that we distance ourselves from where our products actually comes from and ones you create the connection between life – torment – and – product. It will be very hard to not feel the pain.

We are taught to believe that no harm goes into the production of the animal products that we use, however, the truth tells a different story and ones you open your eyes and actually start to learn what goes on you will be stunned at how much abuse actually goes into each item and ever more stunned that you have allowed it.

Most people are against animal cruelty and the horrible treatment of animals and yet, they support it by purchasing products that are made with acts of cruelty behind them all because they lack the information or once they agree that it is actually happening they will start to feel guilt and they will have to take responsibility for their actions.

We do not need leather made out of skin, there is nothing genuine with it. Perhaps if we would go back in time there was actually a purpose behind it, today, with all the technology we have it is completely unnecessary. There are far better ways to get leather, more sustainable, cruelty-free and better for the environment.

At the end of the day, you and your purchase will make the decision if animal cruelty is right or wrong. You can either stand behind it or change your choices and be against it.

Thank you for reading. If you have any questions or comments please drop them below and I will get back to you.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. This is an interesting topic!

    I was unaware that leather could be less durable than plastic or vegan leather.  I also thought it was biodegradable.  

    It’s a pity that animals have to suffer for us to be made comfortable.  That is slavery on a grand scale. I will definitely look up mushroom leather as it is of interest to me.  

    What I would like to know is whether it is cheaper to produce, or buy as a customer.

    I will find out!

    1. Hi Stella,

      Leather is biodegradable but it will last a long time as well. 

      The point of the issue with leather is that animals are suffering and being killed for us to be “fashionable”, which I personally find quite repulsive.

      The prices do vary on items such as bags and shoes, as they are becoming more popular and being produced by bigger brands as well as fashion designers. It is however both better for the environment and the animals. I am glad to pay a little bit more if it means that it will end suffering for someone else.

      Thank you kindly for reading

  2. Hello Alexandra, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. I definitely don’t support what people do with animals regarding the leather but it is sad we can’t do much to prevent it. My wife and I never buy something made from animal skin as we always look for plant-made things which is much more tolerated.

    1. Hi Daniel,

      What we can do is make people aware that their choices do have consequences and that items do not just come from the shops, they come from somewhere before ending up at the shops. 

      That sounds great! I am happy to hear that there are people like you and your wife who values other lives as well. it is comforting. 

  3. Leather was always used by man to make clothing, tools, homes and weapons, amongst other thing and this was OK because the animals were slaughter and hunted for food and there were no other or very little other materials for these uses.

    That is not the case today. we have all sorts of material that is as good as or better than animal hide. Yes, we eat meat so there will be a supply of hide for use by man but the breeding and slaughtering of animals purely for the hide or fur is not something I can justify. Especially as we have seen just how inhumanely it is done.  I am all for faux leather.

    1. Hi Bryan,

      Yes, you are completely right. 

      I do think that if it would come down to survival then eating meat and using what you can comes to a different light, with the technology today and everything else on the market it is no longer about survival, now it is about greed and making a profit. If there was no money to be made in slaughtering animals etc then people would stop doing it.

      I am all for it as well. Thank you for taking your time to read the article.

  4. A hard hitting article and one that should be broadcast from the rooftops. I wonder if the whole ‘head in the sand’ attitude is more to do with the feeling most people have, that it won’t make any difference if they make a more eco and animal friendly choice. By one person not buying a pair of shoes made from leather is it going to make any change. Having mainstream alternatives at affordable prices is key. Being able to promote these and offer incentives would steer many into that market place. I prefer the ‘mushroom’ option over the plastic one, given the current swell of disapproval over the use of plastics, quite right to. The issue that many have, about becoming ‘Vegan’, is that it is difficult to find the prOducts that they need on a daily basis, to hand. How many items are completely ‘animal’ free and how many aren’t and we don’t know which are which, due to poor labelling and lack of knowledge about the production processes.

    1. Hi,

      I agree with you, I do believe people sometimes just find it easier to ignore because they are only one person and one person won’t matter – thought by billions of people. 

      There are a lot of items being produced that are vegan, if you take the time to either read the label or just google it really quickly you will find that there are alternatives to everything. If I am purchasing something in the shops but I am unsure of how the product has been made, if it is vegan and cruelty free, I will quickly take up my phone and google it. It will take 30 seconds extra to perhaps save a life, well worth it.

  5. Reading your article, I remember our car’s leather seats. Those shiny brown leather seats in our Ford Ranger pick-up. I didn’t imagine before that those were from dead animals! But thanks to this article, now I’m aware. Realizing how cruel man has become to other creatures, a question now lingers in my mind: Who invented all these? Why did he not consider the issue in the first place?

    1. Hi Gomer,

      I do think that a lot of things has just stuck with us from the past, when we perhaps needed leather to stay warm etc. but we do not need this today since there are so many options.

  6. Wow, vegan leather. I’ve never heard of that before. I prefer mushroom leather to plastic, since it’s environment-friendly. Plus, I want to try the feeling. 🙂

    I’ll check out to see what kind of products are going around from mushroom leather. I see there are surfboards, but I don’t do surf. Do you have something to suggest?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Kate,

      There are a lot of items being produced out of mushroom leather, everything from clothes and shoes to work equipment. 

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