Faux Leather, Fur and Suede: Made Possible by Plastics

Woman wearing faux fur coat in winter weather

It’s quite apparent that faux fur, faux leather, and faux suede are among this fall’s hottest trends. From red-carpet celebrities to runway models to fashionistas on city streets, it seems everyone is sporting jackets, vests, boots, and handbags made from these modern plastic materials. And it’s no surprise: fashions using animal fur, leather, and suede have been popular for a long time, but their newer plastic counterparts offer the same great style but with numerous advantages.

Faux Fur

Faux fur is an animal-friendly approach to fashion made from acrylic plastic fibers that mimic the look and feel of natural fur. It used to be that faux fur was not as attractive or as warm as animal fur; however, due to technological advancements over the past half century, faux fur now can be nearly indistinguishable from natural fur and just as warm.

Faux fur is also much easier to take care of than natural fur. Because it’s made from plastics, it is impervious to insect attack and doesn’t require special storage. In addition, while natural fur typically is dry cleaned, faux fur often can be hand washed, which is more convenient and much less expensive.

And from a style standpoint, you can’t beat faux fur for versatility. Faux fur gives clothing designers nearly unlimited options, since it can be dyed colors that don’t exist in nature and given unique textures and patterns. And best of all, at just a small fraction of the cost of natural fur, faux fur fashion doesn’t require a major investment.

Faux Leather

Faux leather made from polyurethane plastic has the look and feel of natural leather and can be used in almost all the same ways. In fact, faux leather is often preferable to natural leather, not only because it’s animal-friendly but also because it costs much less, making it is an economical choice.

Faux leather is durable and is resistant to warping and cracking.  It is also low-maintenance: just wipe it clean with a damp cloth. In addition, faux leather retains its color for many years, unlike natural leather that can fade.

The versatility of plastics means that faux leather can be created in a wide range of colors and textures, even embossed with crocodile or snakeskin patterns. And faux leather is an especially good option for DIY projects, since it’s easier to cut and sew than natural leather.

Faux Suede

Faux suede is an animal-friendly material made from polyester microfiber that’s woven into a thin, soft, but very tough plastic fabric. The plastic materials are more durable than natural suede, which is made from the delicate underside of an animal’s skin and often can tear.

Faux suede mimics the look and feel of natural suede, but the plastics are much less susceptible to water damage and can be easily cleaned. Because of its stain-repellant qualities, faux suede is especially suitable for clothing items prone to stains, such as shoes, jackets, and handbags. Faux suede also is significantly less expensive, so it’s a great money saving option.

Create your own signature winter look with faux fur, leather and suede, and check out Plastic In Fashion Through the Decades to learn more about the numerous ways innovations in plastics have driven style and function for nearly a century.