The word “pleather” is a popular slang term for synthetic leather made out of plastic, and is actually a combination of the words “plastic leather.” When the faux leather first arrived on the fashion scene in the 1970s, the word was used in a derogatory manner, implying that the wearer was just too poor to buy the pricey, stylish genuine leather items that were in fashion. In modern times, however, many people prefer wearing pleather articles of clothing because they are against using products made from animals.
The most popular form of pleather is made out of a polyurethane film, which is a lighter, more flexible and less restrictive material than leather. This material is easy to clean, requiring the owner to simply wipe it off occasionally with a cloth dipped in a solution of mild detergent and warm water. This simple care routine ensures a longer life for the garments, making them nearly as durable and reliable as their true leather counterparts.
Another reason for pleather’s consistent popularity is that it is a very versatile fabric that can be made into virtually any accessory or item of clothing. In recent years, it has been used by numerous designers to create form-fitted jackets, stylish jeans, flattering skirts, trendy tops, fabulous handbags, and sexy shoes. This multi-faceted textile is one that people of all ages and fashion styles can wear tastefully.
This fabric also breathes, meaning that even individuals living in hot, muggy climates can enjoy pleather garments. In addition, the fact that it is easily dyed means consumers can always find items in the “in colors" of the season. Pleather can even be made to look like real leather, ostrich skin, or python skin.
Pleather is still less expensive, sometimes costing three times less than real animal hide leather. This makes it an attractive fabric for companies that make mass-produced clothing lines and accessories. This also makes it a popular choice for use in furniture lines and car upholstery.
The pleather of today isn’t the much-ridiculed, squeaky, faux hides of yesteryear. The softer, realistic-looking material is a popular choice with designers, not only offering them a flexible, versatile textile to work with, but also bridging the great divide between between being stylish and being animal friendly.