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What is PU Leather?

The “PU” in PU leather stands for Poly Urethane, a thermoplastic polymer used to make this vegan alternative to traditional leather. It is one of the most convincing vegan leathers on the market with a soft to the touch texture that is still durable and weather resistant. 

PU Leather maintains its appearance while Real Leather Softens and Wears
PU Leather maintains its appearance while Real Leather Softens and Wears
image: Steel Horse Leather

Is PU Leather good for the environment?

As it is a PETA approved 100% vegan leather, PU Leather starts out much more ecologically sustainable than traditional leather because it doesn’t require the very carbon-heavy process of raising cows for raw materials. On top of this, PU Leather can be manufactured in a way that optimizes sustainability. As science progresses, it is easier and easier to produce convincingly faux leathers that are earth friendly. 

PU vegan leather boots made by Brave GentleMan

PU vegan leather boots made by Brave GentleMan

 

Are all PU Leathers the same?

No! While all PU Leathers are made from thermoplastic polymers, there is a huge breadth to the ways in which it can be manufactured. Different companies use different raw materials, resulting in an array of products that differ terms of quality and cost. 

United Leather makes a PU vegan leather that is significantly better for the environment than alternatives. They use DMF free and water-based materials that use around three times less energy than the traditional PU process and releases 75% less carbon dioxide. Since most of the ecological improvements come from changes in manufacturing, not raw materials, the end result has the reliably desirable qualities of PU leather at a much, much, reduced carbon footprint. 

United Leather’s Vegan and Ecologically Friendly PU Leather in Terra

United Leather’s Vegan and Ecologically Friendly PU Leather in Terra

 

How does PU Leather compare to traditional leather?

First, and most importantly if you pride yourself in being an ethical consumer, PU leather is vegan and uses significantly fewer natural resources than traditional leather. This means that it’s much better for the environment than leather made from animals. 

Beyond this advantage, PU Leather is also more affordable than genuine leather because the manufacturing process is less expensive. It can come in a variety of colors and styles that look genuine, which is difficult to achieve with real leather as it is often difficult to dye animals' hides bright colors. 

While PU leather doesn’t last quite as long as animal-hide leather, it also doesn’t dry out over time. This means that while you are using your PU leather products you won’t have to worry about cracking or damage from the elements. Another major plus of PU vegan leather is that it also doesn’t absorb water, which means that it’s a lot easier to clean and care for than traditional leather. 

A Nanushka Black Vegan PU Leather Dress

A Nanushka Black Vegan PU Leather Dress

image: SSENSE

 

What is PU leather used for?

This breathable, durable and eco-friendly vegan leather has all sorts of uses. From high end faux leather furniture to affordable accessories, there is little made from traditional leather that this versatile vegan leather can’t be used for. PU is one of the most realistic imitations of traditional leather when it comes to feel, overall appearance, and the adaptability of the material. 

Brave GentleMan, a Brooklyn based brand committed to slow fashion, has used eco-certified PU Leather to make the classic leather boot that is also sustainable and ethically responsible. Nanushka, the fashionable London-based womenswear brand has introduced a to-die-for vegan leather dress made from PU leather and polyester. In the vegan bag world, HOZEN is using United Leather’s super sustainable PU leather to create new styles of handbags. 

HOZEN Quilted Mini Duffle • Camel

HOZEN Quilted Mini Duffle • Camel

 

Is PU Leather Right for You?

If you want to leave traditional leather, its animal-cruelty, and the costly ecological footprint in the past, there is an exciting world of vegan leathers just waiting for you to explore. 

PU leather does not use animal products and provides an ethical and sustainable alternative while also being an impressively green material. Plus, PU leather’s a convincing, expensive looking, material that comes in all shades and colors and can easily be tailored to a number of fashionable styles. What’s not to love?

 

 

 

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