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What are vegan leather bags made of?

The beauty of vegan bags is they aren't made from animal products and so are cruelty free. The material used to make vegan bags is often referred to as PU leather (or polyurethane leather which is also often referred to as vegan leather). This material is a thermoplastic polymer which is artificial.

Vegan bags are generally better for the environment as well. The process of turning animal skin into leather for use in bags takes a lot of energy and uses a myriad of chemicals such as mineral salts, coal-tar derivatives, formaldehyde, oils, dyes, and finishes. Tannery waste may contain water-fouling salt, lime sludge, sulfides, acids, and other pollutants.

What is the difference between animal leather and vegan leather?

Vegan leather will generally have a similar texture to animal leather but can be lighter in colour. Its also not as durable and hard wearing so may not last as long. Vegan leather is also more resistant to sunlight, which is why its commonly used to cover car seats and furniture.

Compared to animal leather, vegan leather is not as breathable. While animal leather tends to become more attractive and softer overtime, this is not the case with vegan leather, which will maintain a uniform look and feel throughout its life.

Image showing the difference between real leather and faux leather


What are some of the other pros and cons of vegan leather compared to animal leather?

The pros:

  • Lower cost as its easier to manufacture.
  • Doesn’t absorb water which makes it easier to clean.
  • Can be made into a variety of colors and styles.
  • Doesn’t dry out over time.
  • Uses less resources to produce.


The cons:

  • Can look fake and synthetic.
  • Can smell of chemicals or plastic.
  • Not all PU leathers are vegan because some contain leftover genuine leather.
  • Even though it uses fewer resources to make, plastics don’t decompose and aren’t the most eco-friendly.


What are Corkadia's vegan bags made of?

At Corkadia, all our cork products are PETA-approved vegan as the cork is carefully harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree in a way which does not harm the tree and will generally support tree growth. Its this approach that is helping make cork the new vegan material on the block. Some other great qualities of cork are its recyclable, biodegradable, water resistant, and easy to clean. Cork is also very soft, durable, and hard wearing.

Where its not practicable to use solely cork in our products (for example, the interior of some of our bags or the backing for our watch straps), we generally use PU leather, polyester, or cotton, which are also vegan.

If you'd like to view our wide range of handbags, crossbody bags, and backpacks which are handmade from cork, then please feel free to click on the links.


If you've made it to here, thanks for reading and feel free to contact us if you have any questions.


From the team at Corkadia.


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