At The Retro Bag Canada, we believe bags can be vintage and cruelty-free all at the same time. With that in mind, the leather bags at The Retro Bag Canada are made from vegan leather. ‘What exactly is vegan leather’? you may ask. Vegan leather (also known as man-made leather) is the alternative, cruelty-free and more sustainable option to the traditional leather made from animal skin. However, not all vegan leather is made from the same material. In this post, we'll explore the different types of vegan leather available in the market.
There are two major types of vegan leather in the market; synthetic vegan leather, and plant-based vegan leather.
1. Synthetic Vegan Leather
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Leather:
PVC leather, or polyvinyl chloride leather, is a type of synthetic leather made by coating a layer of polyvinyl chloride on top of a fabric base. While it's a more affordable alternative to traditional leather, it's not a popular choice among consumers.
Polyurethane (PU) Leather:
PU leather, or Polyurethane leather, is the most common type of vegan leather. It's made by coating a layer of polyurethane on top of a fabric base, usually polyester or cotton. PU leather is durable, water-resistant, and easy to clean. It's also affordable, making it a popular choice for clothing, shoes, and accessories.
Recycled Polyvinyl Butyral (RPVB) Leather:
RPVB leather, or Recycled Polyvinyl Butyral leather, is typically created by combining recycled PVB with other components, such as polyurethane (PU) or microfiber, to form a composite material resulting in leather. RPVB can be collected from waste or laminated glass products, like windshields, and processed into a usable form. This means it offers environmental benefits by repurposing waste materials that would otherwise end up in landfills or incinerators.
2. Plant-Based Vegan Leather
Pinatex is a plant-based vegan leather made from pineapple leaves. It's a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional leather. The production process involves extracting fibres from pineapple leaves, which are then transformed into a non-woven mesh. The mesh is then treated with natural starches and fibres to create a flexible and durable material. Pinatex is not only vegan and sustainable, but it also supports farmers in pineapple-growing countries.
Mushroom leather, also known as Mycelium leather, is a new player in the world of vegan leather. It's made from the root system of mushrooms, which is grown in a controlled environment. The mycelium is then harvested, cleaned, and treated to create a durable and flexible material that resembles leather. Mushroom leather is sustainable, biodegradable, and cruelty-free. It's also lightweight, breathable, and water-resistant, making it a viable option for clothing, accessories, and furniture.
Apple leather is typically made using apple peels and cores discarded from the food industry. These by-products are collected, processed, and transformed into usable material for manufacturing leather-like products. The apple waste undergoes a process that involves grinding and blending it into a pulp, then drying and treating it with natural binders and resins to create a flexible and durable material.
In conclusion, the world of vegan leather is rapidly expanding, with new materials being developed that are not only cruelty-free but also sustainable and eco-friendly. While synthetic vegan leather (PVC and PU) are currently the most common vegan leather type used, there are other sustainable options. Other sustainable options include RPVB leather; made from recycled materials, Pinatex; made from pineapple leaves, mushroom leather; made from the root system of mushrooms, and apple leather; made from apple waste. By exploring and embracing these alternatives, we can reduce the reliance on traditional leather and move towards a more sustainable future.