Leather, synthetic leathers and vegan trendy alternatives – a comparison of their technical performance

Saal B
Freitag, 15.09.2023, 11:00 - 11:25 Uhr

Michael Meyer (Filk Freiberg Institute gGbmH, Freiberg (GER))

Leather is able to protect against wind, heat, cold, sun and mechanical injury, it is a long-lasting material with a high wearing comfort if dry. It becomes heavy when it is wet and it is not easy to clean without applying a finish - and it is not vegan. Textiles are of lower weight, they cannot protect against wind and rain but coating compensates this disadvantage. In contrast to leather, synthetic or plant-based alternative materials are not exactly defined. These materials comprise a broad number of different constructions and compositions, which are usually adapted to a function as part of a final article. Fashion as well as automotive and furniture companies are continuously asking for new materials beside of leather, artificial leather and textiles for their use cases. During the last decade a plethora of new materials to be applied in shoes, accessories, and upholstery has been proposed and prepared in lab scale by designers and startup companies. We investigated a representative selection (e.g. Pinatex ®, Kombucha, Vegea ®, Desserto®, AppleSkin®, Teak Leaf®, SnapPap® and MuSkin®, and as well E-leather, leather board, textiles coated with cork and wood vaneer) to evaluate their performance. The contribution will show some principal compositions which are available on the market, selected properties which reflect the machinability, the comfort and the longevity and a principal outlook where developments must go.