Leather goods is one industry, independent and having a loyal, diverse and progressive group of consumers who look for leather pieces that they can identify with and more importantly that help enhance the look they go for.
However, in this vast field of luxury goods that are now accessible, many are caught clueless between pinpointing genuine leather from a multitude of pieces and shopping by price presuming the higher the cost the product will surely be genuine.
While this theory is arguable on many levels, cases may differ with genuine leather being attainable at affordable or cheap prices and fake leather that are available at higher costs and vice-versa create a confusion that can easily be solved. Below are a few simple yet effective steps to help you solve this mystery and knowing genuine leather when you next see it.
Look for any indication that points towards any form of labeling that says the product is animal made, top or full grain leather, real or genuine leather. While chances are that the item may really be genuine you will know otherwise should there be no signs of such labels. However you can still exercise caution and test the product for yourself if you’re still unsure.
Imperfections are actually good when dealing with genuine leather. As leather is in fact the hides or skins of animals hence the grain or little pebbles and pores that confirm the leather as genuine. Wrinkles, creases and scratches are other elements that prove the leather is real, especially when you find that no particular area is identically the same. This means if these qualities do not exist or if you find the entire surface the same from any side you know for sure it isn’t real.
Please Smell it!
Jokes aside, smelling the product can also help to classify the leather as real or not. If you get a musky scent similar to skin, you know it’s genuine and if you get even a subtle smell of plastic you can be sure it’s synthetic.
Rough around the Edges
As genuine leather is rough around the edges caused by a natural fray due to it being made from different strands, fake leather that is machine-made will have even, clean cut edges as it does not fray.
The Water Effect
Water is another way that can help in identifying genuine leather. With a few drops of water on the surface, real leather will absorb it almost instantly as opposed to fake leather that will show the stagnant drops indefinitely.
Colour doesn’t Matter
A crucial point that often gets overlooked or misunderstood. The colour of leather has not relation to it being genuine or not. Genuine leather is available in a multitude of colours and keeps growing by the minute.
Know thy Leather!
With many people searching for ways to differentiate between genuine leather and faux or fake ones, they often forget if not remain unfamiliar to the fact that genuine leather is one of four types of leather that are ‘Real’. Meaning that genuine leather is the third lowest form of real leather available in the market. The scale of real leather is formed as such, Full Grain, Top Grain, Genuine and Bonded Leather.
Did you Know?
Genuine leather is available in several different ‘finishes’ resulting in different looks and feel that may throw you off, mistaking it for fake leather. Aniline and Semi Aniline, Waxed or Oil, Fully Pigmented Finish, Antique Finish, or Wyper Finish, Full Grain Finish and Corrected Grain Finish to name a few common types. All these have dissimilar appearances, whether a difference in grain or texture and also feel different regardless of them possibly being 100% genuine. Want to know more? Look out for a post on the different finishes of genuine leather.
Resources: Hidepark, Padandquill, Wikihow and Bellatory.