In marketing, real estate agents are expected to accurately and truthfully describe a home and the materials found in the home. It is too easy to put a spin in your descriptions that are not accurate. This becomes “marketing speak“. For instance, an agent describing flooring should refrain from using the broad term “hardwood”, and instead use “engineered” hardwood.
Marketing speak often astounds us especially when it comes to naming a new fabric. That has been the fate of fabrics that look like leather and feel like leather. As technology evolved, the fabric imitating leather has improved, so much so that many have trouble distinguishing between the fabric and the real leather.
The naming of the fabric has gone through a journey of aliases. At first it was christened Naugahyde. Since then it has been called: leathertex, pleather, and lastly, (what had us laughing) “vegan leather.”
The two words do not go together. Vegan defines a person who does not eat or use animal products. Leather is defined as a material made from the skin of an animal by tanning or similar process. The same can be said about “faux” fur, and all other “faux” materials bearing the word “faux”.
In the luxury fashion industry, imitation leather fabrics has been referred to as the “trickle-up” fabric, because plastic is not a material associated with luxury. The fabric is made from layering plastic/polyurethane and polymers on fabric, until the desired leather feel and texture is achieved.
Stella McCartney in staying true to her vegan lifestyle pioneered the use of pleather in her fashion offerings of purses, belts and shoes. Other high-end designers, like Tom Ford, are lauding the practical aspects of pleather being waterproof, lighter than the natural, wrinkle free and it can be adapted to designs and textures not found in animal hide.
For those of you who sell fully furnished homes with an inventory list describing the furnishings you may need to ask your sellers, if what looks like a leather couch is really leather, or pleather or vegan leather. You must disclose!