“Vegan” leather?

Admittedly, as genuine leather experts, we struggle with the term “vegan leather”. The more appropriate term would be “artificial leather” or “imitation leather”. In other words, materials that try to imitate the positive properties of leather without using animal products.

“Vegan” leather?

A critical view

What does the cow think about vegan leather?

Well, it probably no longer understands the world. The term vegan leather is as meaningless as “hurry up” or “silent scream”. Linguists call this an “oxymoron” (oxys = sharp (meaningful) and moros = stupid), i.e. when a phrase is formed with two mutually exclusive terms. A look at the Duden proves: “Leather is a material obtained from animal skin by tanning ... material”. So the term “vegan leather” is per se mutually exclusive. So much for the theory.

In practice, “vegan” just sounds hip and trendy at the moment, and for some people it is. After all, there is already vegan sausage, vegan ice cream and now there is also vegan leather. In the case of leather furniture, this is simply the nebulous term for real leather alternatives. These are usually synthetic materials, in other words artificial leather. Of course, vegan leather sounds better than artificial leather, as it gives the impression of naturalness and sustainability. But synthetic materials are definitely not.

For vegans, not eating meat and owning goods made of leather, i.e. animal skin, are incompatible. “Vegan leather” (we'll stick with this term, even if it makes us feel sick inside) initially suggests a good feeling, you have the natural and pleasant material properties of leather in mind, but at the same time protect the animal world. But very few people realize that the majority of the new “vegan” alternatives to real leather are unfortunately just plain artificial leather, i.e. more or less plastic. Hashtag environment?

Then there are other vegan leather alternatives with spongy and misleading terms such as “rhubarb leather”, “cork leather” or “SnapPap leather”. For the uninitiated, rhubarb leather, for example, sounds better than “chrome-tanned leather” and the manufacturing process is also more environmentally friendly. However, the material is not made from plant fibers, as the name suggests, but from animal skins that have been tanned with plant parts (rhubarb root). So nothing to do with vegan. So anyone who values vegan or ecologically sound products unfortunately has no choice but to study the labels carefully.

Final word

One more thing is important to us. We have absolutely nothing against real leather alternatives made from synthetic or plant-based raw materials. They certainly have their justification and advantages in some areas. We just have something against these materials bearing the term “leather” in their name, because that is simply wrong.

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