Can we use the term "vegan leather"?
"Vegan leather", "vegetable leather", vegetable material or animal leather... so many terms to designate several materials, and it's not always very clear! What if we figured it all out?
Let's start at the beginning: animal leather. This term is used to designate animal skin, which will be treated to become rot-proof, and become a material in its own right. Since 2010, French legislation has regulated the use of the term leather, which can therefore only designate animal skin. At least, it's clear !
Very popular for many years (it goes back to prehistory!), animal leather is renowned for its durability, its flexibility, its resistance... undeniable qualities that have proven themselves.
But animal leather is increasingly criticized for ecological and ethical reasons: whether through the use of animal skin or the resulting treatment necessary to treat it (very high water consumption, use of chemicals for tanning), more and more people are now looking for alternatives that are more respectful of animals and the environment.
Make no mistake about it, vegetable leather is not made from plants... but animal skin.
We talk about vegetable leather to differentiate the tanning of the leather, which will be carried out with vegetable products. More ecological than the chemicals usually used, tanning will however require much more time, and always a lot of water, which will in fact increase the cost quite considerably. In addition, the possible color range will also be less wide.
On the other hand, given that it is always an animal skin that is used at the base, the resistance and durability will always be there, just like the name leather which can also be used.
What about "vegan leather" then?
Let us already recall the definition of the word vegan: it is a way of life which excludes the consumption of products of animal origin.
Leather being an appellation designating exclusively animal skin, to speak of "vegan leather" is clearly paradoxical!
This term is however regularly used to designate these new alternatives, which do not contain any animal skin. The term "leather" simply helps to better understand the image of the material, which has characteristics quite similar to animal leather, such as appearance, feel, flexibility... and even resistance.
On the manufacturing side, there are several different alternatives, all of which are made from plants: grapes, apples, cactus, mango, mushrooms, pineapple, cork...
More animal skin, more tanning, therefore more chemicals or large quantities of water used: these new alternatives to animal leather therefore meet the expectations of people who want more ecological and ethical consumption.
To avoid confusion, and above all to respect the French legislation which governs these terms, it is therefore necessary to use other terms to designate these new alternatives, such as "plant material" or "ecological material".
As you will have understood, for the rebirth of Viahero , we have chosen to rethink the Pilot Bag backpack by making it in an alternative to animal leather, a vegetable material made from grapes. And one thing is certain, this material blew us away!
In a future blog post, we will explain why we chose to use grapes and not another alternative.
So, if you want to find out more about all these new alternatives, and what we can do with them, we invite you to join us on the networks .