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Really Real Or Really Fake?

Really Real or Really Fake?


On my recent travels I was lucky enough to stop by Florence, Italy. There I indulged in copious amounts of gelato (an absolute must) but I also visited Leonardo Leather Works – a showroom with a variety of leather products made in true Florentine tradition. Of course shopping was on the agenda, but first I sat through a leather demonstration where an expert taught us the difference between fake and real leather. She gave us tips on what to look for, how feel and touch is important and why most places spray that ‘leather smell’ to try and trick you.

So often people will go into stores and hesitate when going to buy a handbag, clutch or piece of luggage, wondering whether it’s a piece of genuine leather or a cheap knock off.  The frustration of thinking you’re purchasing real leather only to later find out its synthetic can bring tears to your eyes!

Alas! I’ve created some tips for you to figure out whether your leather purchase is really real, or really fake.

Tip # 1 – Probably the most important tip is to make sure you’re buying your leather product at a reputable store. Get some professional advice and where possible, get from a reputed brand.

Tip # 2 – Next up it’s all about the touch. When you touch the surface of genuine leather, you’ll notice that it may be smooth, soft and supple. In the case of fake leather the touch is usually more rigid.

Tip # 3 – Compared to fake leather or ‘leatherette’, real leather has elasticity. You can press the surface of real leather with your fingers and notice small wrinkles which disappear naturally. This doesn’t happen with fake leather.

Tip # 4 – Fire baby! Of course probably not the safest of options, but if you take fire to fake leather it will start to deform irregularly. If its ‘pleather’, if could even start to burn! (disclaimer – fire departments will be called) On the flip side, genuine leather won’t deform and the skin will always return to its natural state.


Vashti Uys

Vashti Uys is head designer and founder of MOOI. Based in Australia with her two young sons Kingsley and Kobi, Zimbabwe-born husband Darren and her dog Frankie, Vashti’s own personal easy-going style mirrors her design ethos - favouring the functional and fuss-free with a strong emphasis on beautiful fabrics and a foundation of luxury.

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