People often think that eco-leather and leatherette are synonyms, which is wrong. In this article, I am going to clarify the main differences between these two types of leather.
Even though they might look similar from outside and both don't involve animal skin in production, here are the top 5 differences you should consider:
1. No chemicals
The “eco” part in the name means that industrial plasticizers harmful to health and the environment were not used in the tanning process. The basis is the woven fabric. A polymer layer is applied on top, dyed in the desired color and gives a characteristic texture. Polyurethane used in the production of eco-leather is safe, non-toxic and does not emit pungent odors unlike PVC, which is used in the manufacture of leatherette.
Polyurethane withstands temperatures from -35 to 100 degrees, so eco-leather can be used in the most severe conditions. Bags from eco-leather will serve you 5, 10, maybe 15 years with proper care, while leatherette gets damaged faster, breaks and cracks at low temperatures.
Eco-leather passes airflow freely in both directions while leatherette doesn't, that's why it causes sweating in hot weather.
4. Absence of smell
If you have ever bought any item made of leatherette you should remember that specific unpleasant smell due to the harsh chemical notes, while eco-leather does not smell.
Eco-leather is hypoallergenic, non-irritating material while leatherette can cause some allergic reactions.
Finally, there are some additional tips on how can you spot a difference fast between eco-leather and leatherette. If you hold a piece of leatherette between your palms, it will hardly change its shape, you will feel how rough it is. Eco-leather feels really soft. Use your nose as an indicator. If you notice an unpleasant smell, that's chemicals in leatherette talking.
So, which is right for you? If you are buying a clothing item or a bag, then eco-leather is preferable because it is breathable, waterproof, hypoallergenic, durable and it is easy to take care of. However, if you are looking for something cheap and don't mind throwing it away in a few years, then leatherette is always there.
Check out our handmade bags made of eco-leather from Armenian brand Ruben's. They go through the long process, attention to detail so the brand can deliver a high-quality stylish product for you to complete that stunning look.