by Albert Varkki updated 08-03-2023

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Pleather, also known as "vegan leather," is synthetic leather made from plastic, which is a combination of the two words "plastic" and "leather."

When faux leather first appeared in the fashion industry in the 1970s, it was seen as a derogatory term, indicating that the wearer couldn't afford genuine leather items in fashion at the time.

However, in modern times, many people prefer pleather clothing as they are against using products made from animals.

What material makes pleather?

Pleather’s most popular form is made from a polyurethane film. This material is more lightweight, pliable, and less restrictive compared to traditional leather. In essence, pleather is essentially plastic leather.

One of the advantages of pleather is that it is easy to clean, requiring only a cloth dipped in mild detergent and warm water. With proper care, pleather garments can be nearly as durable and reliable as real leather.

The versatility of pleather is such that it can be used to make almost any accessory or clothing item which adds to its consistent popularity in the world of fashion.

In recent years it has been used to make form-fitted jackets, stylish jeans, sexy shoes, fabulous handbags, trendy tops, pleather pants, and flattering skirts by many different designers.

It is a multifaceted textile which, although is fake leather, can be worn by all ages and fashion preferences tastefully, modestly, and with sensibility.


Pleather can be cleaned with water and, in many cases, laundry detergent whereas real leather cannot. However, pleather should not be put into the dryer.

A solution of vinegar and water spritzed lightly on new pleather can remove any remaining factory chemical smells.

Fake leather can last just as long as traditional leather if properly cared for.

Best Alternatives

It's far better to choose full-grain leather over pleather if you can afford the extra cost. That is because it's more durable and looks better, as well as aging better over time.

At Von Baer, we only make bags from full-grain leather, to ensure our products are designed to last, and can be passed down from generation to generation.

Is Pleather a Word?

Although derived from slang, pleather is a genuine word. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “a plastic fabric made to look like leather.” The material production techniques used date back to the 19th century, but the use of the term “pleather” began in 1982 and has since become popular.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary added the word in 2004. "MP3," "body wrap," and "information technology" were also added.


Does the Rain Ruin Faux Leather?

A major issue that real leather clothing has is that it is very moisture sensitive. This makes wearing it difficult during the yearly rainy season.

On the other hand, pleather is a synthetic material, it is the more weather-resistant choice. Pleather items can be machine washed, however, it’s important to read the tag as potential mistakes can be costly.

Caring for Pleather

  1. Regular cleaning. Use a mild soap detergent, warm water, and a non-abrasive microfiber cloth. This should be enough to remove all except very resistant staining.
  2. Protect from sunlight. As with real leather, pleather can dry and crack if not protected from long periods of direct sunlight.
  3. Beware of color transference. Indigo-dyed items, for example, jeans, can transfer and discolor to cause staining.

Pleather might not be so appealing to some people, but the fact that it remains one of the most versatile materials available to fashion designers today is what makes up for its lack of authenticity.

Related articles:

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We hope you enjoyed our article on Pleather.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments or email Von Baer at

Browse related leather pages here.

Author: Albert Varkki

Albert Varkki is the co-founder of Von Baer. He understands leather products as a consumer, supplier, and a manufacturer, helping you with the inside knowledge you need, to choose the perfect leather product for you.

We always aim to have the highest editorial standards, and only publish accurate information on our website.

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