Faux leather begins with a fabric base such as polyester. The fabric is then given an imitation leather finish and texture with wax, dye, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or polyurethane.
Faux leather is obviously designed to look like real leather, but the surface of synthetic leather is uniform. (A very regular, even texture pattern is a sign that it’s a machine-made piece.) Faux leather also feels cold and unnaturally even compared to real leather. When you press your finger into the surface of faux leather, rather than stretching or wrinkling like real leather, the synthetic material simply depresses under your finger while still retaining its shape. Because of the chemicals used in its production, faux leather can also smell like plastic. (If you smell a plasticky, chemical odor, you can bet the leather is synthetic.)
Faux leather does not last nearly as long as real leather, and unfortunately, when it begins to wear out, it does not wear out attractively. It’s much cheaper than real leather, though, which is good - because you’ll be replacing it regularly.
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