Vegan, Faux, and Leather

  • Distinguishing the difference between real and fake/cheap leather
  • Requires the use of multiple senses.
  • Sight, smell and touch are all important
  • The way the leather feels, looks, moves and smells are all good indicators of what's real and what's fake. 



It's important to know the types of leather available. 

The best quality leather is full grain leather,
followed by top grain leather,
then genuine leather,
and finally the lowest graded bonded leather.

AND DON'T GET US STARTED ON FAUX/VEGAN/PU LEATHER - The fakes of the leather industry.
This is the stuff many brands try to sell as environmentally friendly
because it is chemically manufactured and does not contain any real leather.
There are many byproducts in the manufacturing of these fake leathers,
MINUTIAE does not use these in our products.

Genuine leather is the most commonly recognised form,
and is often mistaken as the best money can buy. 

This is because a lot of marketing has gone into giving it this perception.
We at MINUTIAE refuse to sell you something that truly is not of premium quality, therefore,


There is something exhilarating about the smell of quality leather;
deliciously aromatic, well rounded and earthy.

Don't be afraid to smell the bag (even in those high end stores) -
real leather will always smell like leather.

Beware of anything that smells of plastic or chemicals, even if the item says it genuine leather.
Genuine does not mean it all has to be genuine!


Pay attention to how it feels.

If the leather feels wrong (hard, plasticky, or thin), it probably is.
Also look out for leather that appears machine-made or has a lot of blemishes.

The price of leather speaks volumes. 
This may seem obvious, but the cost of buying high quality leather is more or less fixed.

What this plainly means:
If you think a luxury bag or accessory, of the best leathers available,
using premium hardware and lining, hand crafted by artisans,
is the same as the knockoff found in tourist markets around the world,
then I will dearly apologise when you are sorely disappointed upon comparison.

Quality comes at a price, at MINUTIAE we believe that you should not pay extorted prices for your goods, however, cheap will always remain cheap (and nasty).

Depending on the quality,
real leather can feel coarse or smooth, or anywhere in between.
Leather is also flexible and soft.

If the item in questions feels really smooth or has a similar feel to plastic,
it is likely fake leather.

Faux leather also tends to stretch more than real leather.
To become familiarized with the feel of real and faux leather,
go to a reputable leather store and feel real leather to compare it to faux leather.


When making a leather purchase, closely examine the pores of the fabric.
Faux leather will have pores that are in a consistent pattern,
while real leather will have inconsistently placed pores.


Look at the edging of the leather. 
If it’s blue, that means the tannery didn’t allow the leather to properly tan, according to the blog Put This On. 
You’ll notice the edges will sometimes be painted to hide the blemish —
another sign that the piece you’re looking at isn’t the finest.

Look at the non-leather aspects of the product. 
An item of good leather quality will usually have quality stitching to match.
Flaws in stitching, hardware, and lining can indicate inferior leather.

Inspect the Edges

Look at the edges of the garment or furniture.
Faux leather products will have a perfect-looking edge that feels foamy or plastic.
Authentic leather will have a rough-around-the-edges look.

Real Leather Doesn’t Crack Easily

Like the skin covering your body's joints, leather won’t crack even after many years of use.
Yes it may become thinner, but so do we as we age;
therefore taking care of your leather, just like your skin,
ensures a long happy life for your favourite MINUTIAE bags and accessories.

Although the leather won’t be as elastic as when they’re still alive,
with proper care,
it should not crack after repetitive use.

If leather shows sign of cracking after you bent it repetitively,
most probably it’s not quality, full grain or top grain leather,
even if it stated it was GENUINE leather.

Under proper care and normal condition (you know what they say about the direct sunlight,) a genuine leather will not crack or peel.



  • MAXMAYO: How to tell real leather from fake leather
  • Business Insider (Au): 6 ways to spot cheap leather

Share this post

Leave a comment

Note, comments must be approved before they are published