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the good and bad of synthetic leather

Updated on February 21, 2012

a huge source for leather

The need for an alternative product for animal hide has festered for quite a long time. For the process of making leather we must raise the animals, usually in horrible conditions and cure it using toxic chemicals. Not only do we have the ability to make a product, but we do every day. It is called pleather, or plastic leather, and it is here to stay.

The uprising of this plastic leather fabric has presented us with all sorts of new fashions, in all sorts of styles and retro-like colors. As one of the most easily dyed synthetics, synthetic leather can be classified in many different fashion categories. The fall presented pleather in rich shades of brown, burgundy, navy, and gold, adding intensity to an otherwise lighthearted fabric, and revealing its more conservative uses. Spring will bring the playful nature of pleather back into view with pastels, light gold, and silver as the highlighted colors, displaying the funky side of this adaptable fabric.

The tanning of leather for leather products creates an environmental mess for future generations to clean up. Vartan reveals in the article Pretty in Plastic: Pleather is a Versatile, though Controversial, Alternative to Leather “The highly elevated levels of lead, cyanide and formaldehyde in tannery effluent contaminate groundwater, and other waste products include hair, salt, lime sludge, sulfides and acids.” It is clear we need an alternative to this toxic process. We need to use another fabric. Pleather is that fabric.

Many people who choose leather over pleather say that it develops an alluring luster as it ages. And since it’s a natural product, it breathes and feels cooler than vinyl. They may also say vinyl and other synthetics feel hot in summer causing discomfort for the wearer. Another reason is that most pleathers don’t age gracefully, they crack as time passes. However I think that these reasons do not outweigh the need for a clear conscience.

There is a question for some people if pleather is fashionable enough to wear. They worry that pleather wouldn’t come in a style they like or that others might look down on them if they wear it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Vartan reports in Pretty in Plastic: Pleather is a Versatile, though Controversial, Alternative to Leather that there is a wide choice of products in plastic leather and that many celebrities choose to wear it. If pleather is fashionable enough for Hollywood, it is fashionable for anywhere.

We can feel more comfortable in pleather knowing that its an inclusive, stylish fabric that gives us all a chance to do something right. Asking yourself whether to pleather is asking yourself if you feel like being hip, modern, and in vogue. It doesn’t take more than fashion sense to know that we want to be all of those things, and pleather has presented us with the perfect opportunity to do just that!

Seo, Danny. "Goodbye CRUEL SHOES." Vegetarian Times, Sep 1999: 77. Print.

Vartan, Starre. “Pretty in Plastic.” Green living, Oct 2002: 53-54. Print


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    • Lucille Collins profile image

      Lucille Collins 3 years ago from Brampton, Ontario

      Yes, its true that synthetic leather has its disadvantages and advantages. And I find your blog interesting to point out what was the use of leather , it is believe that leather is one of the most well established in the market. And it provide us so many use although there are consequences we to take in making leather we used animals skins and its not a good thing use so much of it. It will make an imbalance the environment.

      So that's the time we used synthetic leather as an alternative to the genuine leathers. And this pleathers really help many industries who needed supplies of leathers especially the fashion industry.