What is Organic Leather
Organic leather, also known as synthetic leather or horn, has a texture similar to that obtained from a cow or other animal. It is a product whose raw material is not obtained by traditional procedures , as it has been done for thousands of years.
The ecological leather is made from a plasticizing material that is introduced into a mixing machine. Then an ultraviolet light stabilizer is added to make the material resistant to the sun's rays. The next step is to incorporate a flame retardant solution so that it can resist fire. A machine mixes these substances and, in parallel, vinyl powder is added until a consistent mixture is achieved.
On the other hand, in a different mixer several dyes are combined to obtain the desired tones. The contents of the two mixing vessels are combined and a large roll of paper with a leather-like texture is poured over the substance that has been formed so that a mechanical arm deploys the mixture on the paper.
Once the paper has been bathed with vinyl, it is deposited in an oven to harden its texture. Subsequently, the paper undergoes a thickening process to give form, consistency and texture to the fabric.
Through this procedure the synthetic leather is ready to make a specific design (of a jacket, a bag or some shoes). The type of fabric is very resistant and at first glance it looks like a piece of traditional leather.
The eco-leather label is questionable
The elaboration process explained above shows that it is not an ecological or natural leather, but that this label is used with some ambiguity . On the one hand, it is an ecological product because animal life is respected. However, its ecological value is relative, since the manufacturing process and the substances used are typical of the conventional textile industry.
It must be taken into account, on the other hand, that ecological leather or horn is a type of plastic and this material is not exactly a good example of ecological material. In this way, some affirm that the denomination of ecological leather is inadequate and that it is a purely commercial strategy .
Differences between leather of animal origin and "ecological"
The main difference is the higher price in traditional leather. On the other hand, the genuine one has a softer texture. Another differentiating element is the smell, since one leather smells like leather and the other smells like plastic.
For some people buying a synthetic or authentic garment is not a matter of price or texture, but is a choice related to respect for animals.
Photos: Fotolia - artmans / afitz