As humans become more mindful of their choices in materialization, such as picking more sustainable, circular clothing or organic based materials we also have in the last few years turned to leather alternatives. Vegan or Faux leather has flooded the market. It’s not the PU we used to remember, the new Faux leathers are extremely fluid, soft and more realistic looking than ever before. Some have stretch and mold to you just like leather. Retailers such as Anthropologie, Zara and Urban Outfitters have adopted the trend a while back, and this goes all the way from head to toe from Faux leather newsboy caps to cute Vegan leather Western boots.
One of the biggest perks of Faux leather, is that it is waterproof, unlike real leather that can crack and get damaged in heavy rain. If you get caught in a rainstorm (as I love to do, and rarely with an umbrella!) the water will pool in beautiful little droplets on your clothing which you can easily wipe off.
Faux leather is made from a plastic base and is then treated with wax, dye or polyurethane to create the color and texture. Working in footwear for many years, I’ve seen incredibly realistic Faux leathers from makers in Italy and even China. Some with pebbled texture which look so leather like, some high gloss and far more obviously faux, some with crinkled/creased texture again to mimic the real thing.
Faux/Vegan leather is relatively easy to care for. It is important that you do not try to iron wrinkled vegan leather by putting the iron directly onto the material. The method you should use to remove wrinkles depends on the quality of the material – because synthetic ‘pleathers’ have plastic in them, they do not mix well with heat and it can often ruin the product completely. High quality faux leathers can be steamed to remove wrinkles if protected with a sheet, towel or lining as they are much more forgiving against heat however there still should be a lot of care taken when doing this. It is important that you don’t heat your fake leather for more than 30 seconds.
Although the term Vegan leather leads you to believe this is a conscious choice of being animal friendly, no animals are slaughtered for your jacket or shoes, it’s still not entirely environmentally conscious. There are chemicals and off gasses from the production of Vegan/Faux leather as essentially it’s plastic based, and it’s a synthetic material. It’s not entirely environmentally friendly, but for those wanting the look of leather on a lower budget or those choosing to support animal rights, it’s a good choice. They have improved the levels of toxicity of production of Vegan leather over the years.
Here are a few of my favorite Vegan/Faux leather picks from retail right now:
This Faux Leather Trench Coat from Zara is chic dressing up a pair of jeans or clean black pants for Fall. It will also keep you warm and dry.
These Faux Leather Joggers feature a paper bag waist and tie, and oversized pockets. An easy add to a black tee or cashmere sweater for a Luxe fall look. I love them with sneakers.
This Zara Faux Leather dress features a midi pencil length, self belt and of-the-moment voluminous sleeves.
Also from Zara, this Faux Leather Belted Shirtdress comes in a fabulous Whisky shade alongside staple black. I love the shirtdress silhouette this season and in Faux Leather it looks ultra cool. Worn alone with opaque tights and boots or even layered over skinny black jeans.
This Faux Leather Puffer Jacket is a steal at $89.00, but also will be very warm (Faux Leather will be warm just like real leather) and keep you dry. It comes in great colors, but I personally love the Forest Green and I love the sporty details and thick contrast hood ties.
This Faux Leather Vest from Zara features double breasted styling, a self tie belt and tonal horn style buttons. Wear it over a black turtleneck and black skinny pants with chunky croc loafers for a menswear look with plays on texture. Or show some leg with Sky High suede boots and textured tights.
The classic shrunken Biker Jacket is reimagined in Smooth Faux Leather by Blank NYC.
I’m loving Utility Jumpsuits for the Fall, and last year found my favorite at OuterKnown, similar in styling, this Faux Leather Jumpsuit by We Wore What will add some 80’s rocker edge to your wardrobe this season.
To inject a little color into your life for the season, this Sky Blue Faux Leather trench would do the trick by Apparis. It’s the perfect dusty blue you need right now.
One of my favorites, this cognac color Midi Skirt by Isabel Marant features a high waist, sharp seaming and a front slit in a crisp, crinkle and structured Faux Leather.
This long quilted Olive Green Puffer from Apparis features Vegan Leather sleeves for a fun material mix. A great weekend coat for the season.
Lastly, the boyfriend oversized shirt is a key look for relaxed dressing this season. I love the Vegan Leather version by We Wore What, as a more polished look.
Sara Louise Petty