Smell the Difference
We saw that a large well known international furniture retailer hit the news recently following a little ‘consumer trouble’ after they included faux leather sofas in with the leather selection on their websites – with customers actually buying them thinking they were real leather.
It all seems to have been a big mistake, now sorted, but it begs the question of just what is faux leather – and does it really compare well with the real thing?
Faux leather is quite a complex subject in its own right, but as a most basic description, it is simply a man-made substitute for natural leather, manufactured typically from PVC or Polyurethane (PU) in industrial processes which vary to produce a material to suit different applications.
So that is the technical bit out of the way!
It’s easy to generalise and mock the faux material as a poor substitute, but it does have advantages over real leather in a range of areas, not least its lower price and the fact that it doesn’t come from animals, important factors to a lot of people. It also gives a more even and consistent colour, can be waterproof and can almost give the feel of natural leather.
I’m sure we’ve all experienced the ‘sticky thighs’ syndrome of sitting in a PVC chair on a hot summer day; just one of the problems of old with which the original PVC materials surprised us, along with its tendency to be a lot less durable than real leather, cracking and splitting over time and becoming less comfortable.
When it comes to natural leather it is fair to say that it does have its own unmistakeable smell and feel. It is hard wearing and has a strong texture which becomes softer and more comfortable over the years.
It is of course much more expensive than its faux counterpart and needs more care, but the decision you make is down to what you particularly want from your furniture.
Faux leather really has come a long way since it was first created in the middle of the last century and comes with a massively improved quality and texture and a wide choice of colours. And it has lost the old issues which dogged the original PVC materials.
And there you have it; our very, greatly simplified comparison of natural and faux leather. But if you’re still not sure, and you’re looking for the real thing, you may just need to get up close and personal and smell the material – it may be the only way to tell it from its faux leather alternative; apart from its much higher price of course!
One thing we can say without any confusion is that we can help you to choose the right material for your own needs, whether it’s recovering that favourite old classic chair – or the sofa after the cat has attacked it!