Faux leather is one of several names given to artificial or synthetic leather. These names are often used to describe specific end uses of synthetic leather products such as faux leather (sofa, chair and headboard upholstery), leatherette (auto upholstery, clothing), and koskin (consumer goods). There are three primary types of faux leather construction: polyurethane (“PU”), polyvinyl chloride (PVC – “Vinyl”), and silicone.

 

Vinyl synthetic leather has been produced in the United States since the 1940s, initially for products such as shoes, automobile interiors and upholstery. In the late 1950s DuPont and other chemical companies began developing polyurethane products. Silicone upholstery fabrics are relatively new having been introduced in 2010.

 

Silicone, polyurethane and vinyl synthetic leathers are used in making clothing, upholstery, and product covers, but each is better for certain applications than others. PU fabric is softer, more flexible, and breathable, so it's more commonly used for making high-wear products, like clothing and upholstery (surfaces that come into direct contact with skin). Vinyl is not as breathable as PU, but this is often ideal for products that need to repel moisture such as book bindings or cases for electronic devices. Silicone is suitable for virtually any application since it possess the advantages offered by both PU and Vinyl.