For all passionate purse lovers, how the material feels and looks determines whether it is worthy of collecting.
Dedicated handbag collectors painstakingly search for the purses that cause us to pause and admire, evoking passionate “ooohs” and “aaahs” – even before we lay curious fingers upon them. But increasingly more often, luxury purse shoppers are having to perform extensive examinations to determine if the material under scrutiny is genuine leather from animal skins or a synthetic man-made material from chemicals. Adding to our confusion is the all too often missing material label information. It may take a while to locate a “genuine leather cowhide” icon or “genuine leather” stamping on the handbag to confirm authenticity.
So, what does all this “natural or synthetic leather detective work amount to? Translated into “fashionese,” handbags made of high quality synthetic leather are making the “luxury” and exceptionally well made purse “A” lists – and becoming delightful, informed additions to collections of the most discriminating handbag enthusiasts. Thrilling to many, is the fact that while looking and feeling beautifully like leather, synthetic handbags costs far less than traditional leather handbag luxury!
A Little Leather and Fake Leather Handbag History
Acknowledging that the material of a handbag is perhaps its best feature, American women have historically chosen leather as a favorite for luxury purse buys. In the late 1990s, according to the 2012 research of High Beam Industry Reports, responding to U.S. economic woes, more women bought designer handbags made of synthetic leather. Some major designers manufactured imitation leather purses, while still promoting the design integrity of their brands. By the mid 2000s, 66% of all U.S. shipped purses were leather and the United States imported more women’s handbags than any other country on earth. Currently, some of the world’s leading designer brands of natural and synthetic leather handbags are manufactured in China, the worlds largest exporter of handbags. (Global Handbags Market: 2012 Edition)
Comparing Natural Leather to Synthetic Leathers
Genuine, supple natural leathers are the result of tanning and refining only animal skins. On the other hand, according to Robert Kanigel’s “Faux Real: Genuine Leather and 200 years of Inspired Fakes, synthetic leathers fall into four categories:
1. Pyroxilin-based (Fabrikoid)
2. Vinyl-based (Naughahyde);
3. “Corfam” & Poromerics
4. Microfiber-based (Ultrasuede)
Categorized as “poromerics,” PU leather is currently and widely used as the material of choice in handbag construction by many designers and manufacturers. It is a breathable, pliable, porous plastic combination material, made usually of polyurethane coating over a fibrous base like polyester. Finished PU leather results in a material with varying degrees of the look and feel of genuine leather.
Does PU leather have the durability, lovely luster and unique smell of high quality, top grain leather? Absolutely not! Neither does it boast the natural markings and inherent long life span of individual animal skins. Yet, PU leather has soft flexibility and good shape retention that works well for straps and handles. Add to the credit of some PU handbags, exciting enough design to grace high fashion runways and carry quite handsomely on the arms of women who recognize a great purse.
However, when we move beyond comparing physical beauty and esthetic appeal into examining earth concerns of both natural leather and synthetic leather purchases, many factors should be explored and examined. Leather tannery industry standards, animal treatment and the environmental impact of processing natural or synthetic leathers, should responsibly be investigated by individual handbag consumers to understand and acknowledge the manufacturing pros and cons of both.
Make Your Natural or Synthetic Leather Handbag Decision Informed and Exciting!
Ultimately, the “leather or faux leather handbag buying decision is a matter of three simple buying guidelines:
1. Respond naturally to the excitation factor of a handbag. Does it attract and excite you upon first sight? Does it have the power to draw you in for a closer examination even before the first touch?
2. Perform a hands on examination of the handbag you desire. Be very prudent in distinguishing whether it is genuine leather or synthetic leather. Because synthetic leather is being engineered so successfully to mimic natural skin leather, it may take a few moments to make the genuine versus synthetic leather determination. Try to locate the genuine leather certification on attached tags or an imprint of genuine leather stamped into the leather. Because a well made handbag will have a suitable lining, this may be difficult to ascertain. Therefore, the rule of thumb to follow is that designers or manufacturers clearly label the authenticity of the handbag material as genuine leather. If genuine leather labeling is not prominent, the material is most likely man-made with labeling that may be a little more obscure.
3. After establishing whether the handbag’s material is leather or faux leather, how much you are willing to pay for the item that is so delightful to behold and hold should be based on the value of material, details of overall workmanship and other exceptional qualities.
All in all, efficient purse budget management and attaining ultimate fashion highs hinge on making your handbag purchase an informed buying decision as well as a worthwhile collectible that you cherish.
“A Wonderful Purse and Other Wonderful Things” and “Another Wonderful Purse!”is the retail culmination of three generations of women who love the magic of a well-designed handbag. In August, 2012, with the launching of [http://www.AWonderfulPurse.com] expanded the family’s dedication to providing wonderful purses, priced deeply beneath designer prices to true purse lovers and collectors everywhere. The “AWP” web site is engineered to provide a delightful online shopping experience based on the tried and true tradition that a wonderful purse is a woman’s close friend. Our purses are clearly categorized as genuine leather or vegan leather, so that our shoppers have clear luxury options available to them. Our passionate goal: Offer unique, even stunning purses and accessories that reflect the wonder in women-at prices that are too good to believe, but ever so true. Come to A wonderful Purse, because we believe that all purse lovers deserve to possess the beauty of truly wonderful purses.
*”DEP” and “Design Excitation Power” are 2012 corporate collateral and promotional marketing communications terms developed by Ayshai Jones and Monique Manning-Jones expressly for A Wonderful Purse and Other Wonderful Things™.