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What Is Pleather?

Erik Neilson
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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"Pleather” is a popular slang term for a form of synthetic leather made from plastic and is a combination of the words “plastic" and "leather.”

When faux leather first arrived on the fashion scene in the 1970s, the word was used in a derogatory manner, implying that the wearer was just too poor to buy the pricey, stylish genuine leather items that were in fashion. In modern times, however, many people prefer wearing pleather articles of clothing because they are against using products made from animals. Pleather is synonymous with "vegan leather," offering an appearance similar to leather while also ensuring no animals were harmed in the production of the garment.

What is Pleather Made Out Of?

The most popular form of pleather is made out of a polyurethane film, which is a lighter, more flexible, and less restrictive material than leather. Pleather, in essence, is nothing more than plastic leather. This material is easy to clean, requiring the owner to simply wipe it off occasionally with a cloth dipped in a solution of mild detergent and warm water. This simple care routine ensures a longer life for the garments, making them nearly as durable and reliable as their true leather counterparts.

Pleather fabric is extremely versatile and can be used to produce virtually any accessory or item of clothing—another reason for its consistent popularity in the fashion world. In recent years, it has been used by numerous designers to create form-fitted jackets, stylish jeans, flattering skirts, pleather pants, trendy tops, fabulous handbags, and sexy shoes. This multifaceted textile may essentially be fake leather, but people of all ages and fashion styles can wear it tastefully and with modest sensibility.

Did You Know?

  • Unlike real leather, pleather can be cleaned with water and even laundry detergent in many cases (it should never be put in the dryer, however).
  • A simple solution of vinegar and water lightly spritzed on new pleather items can help remove any remaining chemical smells from the factory.
  • When properly cared for, faux leather can be just as durable as the traditional alternative.

Is "Pleather" a Real Word?

Despite having derived from slang terminology, pleather is indeed a real word and is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as, "a plastic fabric made to look like leather." Though techniques to produce the material date back to the 19th century, "pleather" as a term began being used in 1982 and has caught on in the years since.

The word was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2004, along with "MP3," "body wrap," and "information technology."

Does Faux Leather Get Ruined in the Rain?

One of the major issues associated with clothing made of real leather is that the material can be extremely sensitive to moisture, making it difficult to wear during rainy seasons of the year. Sinec pleather is made from synthetic materials, however, it is the most weather-resistant leather alternative one can choose. Many pleather clothing items can even be thrown in the washing machine, although it's always important to read the tag before making what could potentially be a costly mistake.

Here are a few tips to help you care for your pleather clothing, accessories, or other items:

  1. Clean regularly. Mild soap detergent, water and a non-abrasive microfiber cloth is usually enough to tackle all but the toughest stains.
  2. Keep it out of the sunlight. Just as with real leather, pleather will undoubtedly begin to dry and crack if left in direct sunlight for long periods of time.
  3. Watch for color transference. Indigo-dyed clothing items such as jeans can transfer darker colors onto lighter colors and result in staining over time.

Pleather may not have quite the same appeal as leather for some, but for what it may lack in authenticity, it remains one of the most versatile materials available to today's fashion designers.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Erik Neilson
By Erik Neilson

Erik Neilson is a professional writer and editor based in Portland, ME. With 12 years of experience and a broad, diverse background, Erik provides written content of the highest quality to agencies, organizations and print/digital media outlets.

Neilson's work spans a wide range of spaces and disciplines, from copywriting in the tech, government, healthcare and energy efficiency sectors to journalism and editorial calendar development for a popular culinary arts magazine.

In his spare time, Erik enjoys cooking for friends and family, sharpening his woodworking skills and performing his original music in a live setting.

Discussion Comments

By anon314513 — On Jan 18, 2013

@anon251406: What? Three times less doesn't mean subtract $300. It means take 1/3 of it. So your $100 leather shoes become $33 pleather shoes.

By anon251406 — On Feb 29, 2012

Three times less? So if leather shoes are $100 then I'll get paid $200 to take home an equivalent pair of pleather shoes? Sweet.

By anon113106 — On Sep 23, 2010

isn't there a way of keeping pleather from drying out? I'm sure its not just warm soapy water discussed in the above article.

By anon59720 — On Jan 10, 2010

Is pleather, when used as a fabric for covering sofas and chairs as durable as real leather? How about cats scratching. Any damage?

By jfk — On May 11, 2009

How do you get rid of wrinkles in faux leather?

Erik Neilson

Erik Neilson

Erik Neilson is a professional writer and editor based in Portland, ME. With 12 years of experience and a broad, diverse background, Erik provides written content of the highest quality to agencies, organizations and print/digital media outlets.

Neilson's work spans a wide range of spaces and disciplines, from copywriting in the tech, government, healthcare and energy efficiency sectors to journalism and editorial calendar development for a popular culinary arts magazine.

In his spare time, Erik enjoys cooking for friends and family, sharpening his woodworking skills and performing his original music in a live setting.

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