PU Leather Fabric Makes the Grade

pu leather fabric couch

Sometimes “fake” just means fake. For example, that watch bought from the shifty eyed-character in Times Square, or a replication Springfield rifle just like the ones used during the Civil War, maybe an innocent—If not empty—compliment to a superior regarding a hideous wardrobe addition. Americans are accustomed to imitation.

Some things, however, just give you more bang for your buck: like store brand Crispiest Rice, near-brand knockoff purses, no-brand burger joint Big Mack’s. Sometimes real is just plain unrealistic. Recently, this very sentiment has been getting some national attention as faux is gaining a colloquial definition as fantastic!

Faux leather, coming from the French word “faux” (meaning fake), is at the forefront of this new movement. Fake leather has been produced in the United States since the 1940’s and is used in many different products besides jackets and upholstery. Its uses include shoes, automobile interiors, toys for children, and airplane wings (not in pleather form).

However, faux leather is actually quite a misleading term. Imitation leather is a myriad of different materials, products and processes. Some of the materials are as old as the 19th century, while some are hot off the presses, so to speak. These materials range from matte vinyl to 100% polyester to some that are just as easy as applying a coat of treatment to some cotton or wool fabric.

The two most common types of imitation leather are Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC for short) and Polyurethane, the former being the original pleather (although that term wasn’t coined until the 70’s). PVC is created by removing one of the hydrogen atoms in a vinyl group and replacing it with a chloride group. The result is then blended with other chemicals to produce the plastic that is known today for its durability and easy maintenance. While manufacturers loved PVC, seamstresses and tailor were underwhelmed.

Imitation leather was criticized for its artificial feeling and for being too sticky under warmer conditions. Running with these ideas, the DuPont Company came out with a revolutionary idea. They added pores to fake leather, which allowed the fabric to “breathe.” Finally there was an alternative to leather.

As people began to wear pleather they realized some other features of imitation leather. The fabric is not absorbent. Polyurethane, the most common form of pleather today, is stain resistant and very easy to clean. Additionally, fake leather fades very slowly, even in direct light. These days there are many fine examples of replication leather upholstery in homes today.

PU leatherThe picture to the left shows a very elegant, modern-style faux leather bed cover. The texture of the imitation leather adds a subtle rustic atmosphere to the bed room, while avoiding the cliché “cabin-look.” The inky black color of the fake leather allows for clean definition lines against the tan wall, and the white pillow cases and sheets help to liven up the space with more light. A darker, tan night stand would help to balance out the light scheme in this room. This bed can also finish out a heavier-themed bed room, one with dark, true-red walls and matching sheets. The crisp texture of the bed frame and color work well to cut through most ambient hues.

In today’s world, what you see is what you get, and if you get faux leather, you’re seein’ 20/20. From the lab to living room this modern marvel is just now starting to be recognized for the miracles it can perform. So buy it, try it out, slip it on, and see what all the noise is about. One thing is for certain, these faux fabrics are the real deal!

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