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How to differentiate between Leather and Non leather or Fake Leather or Faux Leather

Updated: May 24



To understand the difference between the two we need to understand what they mean.


Leather has two important components one it needs to be animal skin two it needs to be processed known as tanning which perseveres it for longer use. An animal skin not processed is just an animal skin.


Leather is also known as Real Leather or Genuine Leather


On the another hand Non Leather which is expressed in different ways viz. leather imitation , faux leather , leather imitation , foam leather , synthetic leather , artificial leather, pu leather , vegan leather leatherette , fake leather etc. Although their meaning is very clear but there are many who try to confuse the layman to mean the opposite.


So what are these( non leather ) – these are products manufactured from other than animal skin viz. pvc , pu based etc. and made to look and feel like natural leather.


Vegan leather is supposedly to be made from plant based plump like cactus etc. but what we get normally in market are not plant based but made from synthetic material.


Leather is used in manufacturing wallets , bags , laptop bags , backpacks, Ladies hand bags , shoes , belt , apparels like jackets , pants , vests etc


How as a layman can we identify if it is Real leather or Fake leather when buying products

Although I have 25+ experience in the industry , I used to boast that when I touch surface of leather or imitation leather , my sensors would communicate if it is real leather or fake but let me admit fakes are so real both in term of look and feel it is difficult for even for experts to say with certainty by just looking at it , so what should we do if you want to make sure if it is genuine or not


Well follow following from very simple to complex


1. Buy from a trust worthy manufacturer coz they know for sure what material is being used


2. Check the label which says like viz. leather imitation , faux leather , leather imitation , foam leather , synthetic leather , artificial leather, pu leather , vegan leather leatherette , fake leather, all these means it is not leather.

3. Real Leather , Genuine Leather is normal term used for real leather

4. Look for the grain pattern most of the time you would find in imitation uniform pattern unlike leather , you may also find blemishes in leather.


5. Most of the leather is not water resistance unless it is specifically made , and most of the imitation is water resistance drop some water on the material and see if it is absorbing or not.


6. Look at the back of material , leather will have smoother texture suede or velvet like look while as imitation will have woven texture to it, may not be always the case.


7. Fire TEST – CAUTION this might damage your product , so choose an inconspicuous part in your product light that area , hold it for 5-10 secends – Real leather will burn slightly smelling burning of skin ,while as imitation will burn like plastic .


8. Getting it tested in Laborites like Central Leather Institute of India (CLRI) etc.


Authored by Imran Khan


# Leather

# Leather Products Manufacturer

# Real Leather Vs Fake Leather


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