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Vegan Leather Bags: Everything You Need to Know

Vegan Leather Bags: Everything You Need to Know

As Our Story states, SENREVE is inspired by the women who do it all. And, like all women throughout history, our brand is built upon the coexistence of dichotomies: every day and fantasy, tradition and innovation, design and versatility, creating an elevated experience that defies tradeoffs. We believe women can have it all, including 100% vegan leather, without compromise.

SENREVE’s Vegan Leather Handbags Are Here. 

Unlike other luxury brands, we created unique opportunities to combine traditional craftsmanship with 100% vegan materials, and we are proud to offer you sustainable alternatives to express your personal style. No animal products or by-products are used in our 100% vegan leather bags.

Whether you prefer the SENREVE Vegan Maestra Bag, our Vegan Midi Maestra, or the Vegan Mini Maestra Bag, we provide you with the highest quality Italian handbags while incorporating modern sensibilities and materials. You'll always feel guilt free and fashionable with a SENREVE 100% vegan handbag.

How to Care for Vegan Leather

Overall, our 100% vegan leather bags are less porous and easier to maintain than traditional leathers. But, we all encounter the realities of everyday life and here are some easy tips to keep your bag looking great.

Use a clean, damp cloth to remove dirt or liquids from your vegan bag immediately. A light dabbing or patting motion works best.

Never use harsh cleaning agents like isopropyl alcohol, bleach or ammonia. They may discolor your vegan leather. 

For light cleaning, we recommend washing your bag with a cloth, damp with warm water. You can also spot clean your SENREVE handbag with a leather cleaner, which can be purchased at a drugstore or cobbler. Be sure to test products before applying to the whole bag. Please avoid using wipes that have chemicals in them (such as baby wipes or Clorox wipes) as this will ruin the leather. If you’d rather leave it to the professionals, a cobbler or other leather professional can deep clean your bag.

Once the vegan leather bag is cleaned, never store it in direct sunlight as the ultraviolet radiation can weaken the material and may lead to cracking.

Click here to check out SENREVE’s vegan and traditional collections, or keep reading to learn more about vegan leather’s origins and the different types of vegan leathers out there.

Where Does Vegan Leather Come From?

Since the early 20th century, a wide range of manufacturing processes have introduced substitutes for traditional leather. Here are a few notable inventions which eventually lead to the products in use today.

Rexine 

Rexine is a simulated leather fabric produced in the United Kingdom during the early 1920's. It was made by combining nitrocellulose, camphor oil, alcohol and pigment over a cloth surface. Rexine was embossed to resemble natural leather and mainly used for bookbinding materials and upholstery, especially for the interiors of automobiles and the seats of railway carriages.

Presstoff  

Presstoff is a similar leather substitute discovered by German scientists in the late 1930's. Presstoff was utilized in almost every application suitable for traditional leathers, except for situations involving repeated flexing or moisture, where Presstoff loses adhesion and delaminates from its backing.

Leatherette 

Leatherette was introduced during the 1950's and is constructed by applying a layer of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) over a cloth backing which may consist of natural or synthetic fibers. PVC is a type of plastic made with a combination of chloride and carbon, sourced from petrochemicals, and is made pliable with compounds called plasticizers which contain alcohols and acids. Leatherette saw wide use during the 20th century in bookbindings and small bags like camera pouches.

Poromerics

Poromerics are made by layering polyurethane plastic over a fibrous base of polyester. The title, Poromeric, is a derivative of the terms porous and polymeric to describe the material's characteristics. Poromeric materials were marketed as Corfam by the Dupont company in 1963 and became the leading substitute for organic leathers. Poromerics, like Corfam, are produced by adding a layer of polyurethane (PU) adhesive to polyester fabric and is used as a substitute in any application suitable for leather.

PU plastic is thinner, more flexible and leather-like than PVC so it does not require additional plasticizers. In the European Union, PU manufacturing is a strictly controlled and regulated process which guarantees that only a few grams of chemicals per ton are released into the environment. The polyurethane's finished state is chemically inert and biodegradable to a common fungi living in landfills. Poromerics are found in bookbinding materials, handbags, luggage, upholstery, clothing and shoes.

The Future of Vegan Leather

As more people become conscious toward animal welfare, environmental factors, and the working conditions within tanneries, vegan leather has gained popularity and is one of the fastest growing demands within the fashion industry. But, due to the harmful plasticizers in PVC plastics and the reliance upon petroleum products for polyurethane plastics, alternative forms of vegan leather are being created around the world from diverse, all natural, and renewable resources. Below are a few promising contenders for the future.

Piñatex 

In the Philippines, pineapples are a very common agricultural resource which produces an extraordinary amount of waste after processing. In just one example, mountains of pineapple leaves are burned or left to rot. But now, these by-products of pineapple farming are used to create a secondary income from the production of a new form of vegan leather. Piñatex is manufactured by stripping down pineapple waste in a process called decortication. Afterwards, the plant fibers are converted and pressed into a flat mesh which forms sheets of vegan leather. The creation of Piñatex is so efficient that any additional biomass left behind from decortication is used as fertilizer, utilizing every ounce of an otherwise wasted resource.

Cork Leather

Cork is harvested from the bark of Cork Oak trees that thrive in Mediterranean climates like Spain, France and Portugal.  The Cork Oak is actually the national tree of Portugal. So now, not only does cork seal our wine bottles, form our beverage coasters, and make traditional dart boards for our amusement, it can also be turned into Cork leather. Farm workers, called extractors, carefully peel the bark from Cork Oaks, flatten the sheets, and allow them to dry before processing begins. The dried sheets of raw cork are boiled to make the natural fibers more flexible and formable. When the cork is dry again, they are shaved into tissue thin sheets which are laminated onto fabrics that form an incredibly durable, supple and lightweight Cork leather. Cork leather is also waterproof, anti-fungal, hypoallergenic and flame resistant. Additionally, the Cork Oak is the only species of tree which can survive the removal of its bark, and the process actually encourages Cork Oaks to grow more vigorously. Once a Cork Oak is 25 years old, their bark can be harvested every nine years, and the trees typically live for 300 years.

Wine Leather

Also known as grape leather, wine leather is derived from a proprietary process which utilizes the accumulated grape waste during wine production. The grape waste, cores, and shells (or marc), forms a soft, supple type of vegan leather which is quite comparable with traditional animal leathers. 26 billion liters of wine are produced each year, and since every 10 liters of wine leaves behind 2.5 kilograms of grape waste, which makes one square meter of wine leather, that creates the potential for the production of 2.5 billion square meters of Grape leather every year.

Mushroom Leather 

This comes from the roots of fungi which is called mycelium. Mushroom leather is incredibly rugged. It's so tough that some people are experimenting with using it to replace bricks as a building material. With such great expectations of Mushroom leather's durability, there is also a lot of speculation that mushrooms could be the future alternative for all forms of plastic. In addition to its strength, Mushroom leather is also waterproof, and the fungi has proven its usefulness among humans in both cooking and manufacturing for thousands of years. And, not only is Mushroom leather 100% biodegradable, it grows especially fast. For a typical cow hide to become large enough for the traditional leather market, the animal would need to live for 2-3 years while mushrooms grow to maturity in a couple of weeks.

Bottom Line 

As you can see, just these few examples create a bright future for the fashion industry's use of vegan leather, but there are more types of vegan leather being created all the time. For example, Kombucha leather is made from SCOBY bacteria which are used during the manufacturing of kombucha tea; and Leaf leather which is created from teak leaves and bonded to cotton fabric. 

The future will be exciting as entrepreneurs bring new vegan leathers to the marketplace, ensuring that we look fashionable in sustainable and cruelty-free ways. 

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