Identifying real leather from the endless options on both the high-street and online can be a minefield. With so many companies producing faux leather products, which to the untrained eye may ‘appear’ to be real leather, knowing the telltale signs to ensure you are getting a quality product is vital.


With over eight years’ expert experience working with real leather for our beautiful handcrafted designs, we at Pure Luxuries can provide you with all the tips necessary for spotting the difference when it comes to knowing friend from faux.


Real Leather


Here at Pure Luxuries, we are renowned for our extensive range of real leather bags. Real leather is often obvious when you come into contact with it - it has a distinctive and enchanting aroma and simply looks the part. However, with some faux leather products being produced to replicate the authentic real leather ‘effect’, it is understandable that when shopping we can be caught off-guard by a cleverly designed faux leather product.


We highly recommend using Collonil leather care products on our real and genuine leather items


Though sometimes a less expensive alternative, faux leather lacks many of the benefits of real leather. Real leather has the charm of a natural product which, if cared for correctly, can last a lifetime. Faux leather products wear out more quickly and are inevitably missing that special quality only a real leather accessory can provide. From feel and appearance to aroma and character - read our list of criteria to look out for when buying your perfect real leather accessory.




Leather shouldn’t have a uniform look - investing in a real leather bag means you want a natural look, and that comes from the leather’s patina. This naturally occurring consistency - which includes imperfections and markings - gives the leather a rustic and characterful appearance you simply cannot find in faux leather. Instead, faux leather is often printed with a ‘false patina’ - aimed at replicating the unique characteristics of real leather. This pattern is often unoriginal and is printed across hundreds of products, meaning faux leather bags lack individual style.


The real leather of our Made By Stitch Victoria bag compared with the uniform printed texture used in faux leather


Being a porous material, real leather has blemishes which evolve and add character, showing the item’s use over time. Markings which develop as a leather product ages is a desirable effect. This ageing helps to make each and every piece of leather unique as it garners beautifully distinct markings, meaning it stands out when compared with the manufactured “perfection” of faux leather.


Feel and Aroma


When it comes to the feel of leather, nothing compares with the real thing. Being natural hide, real leather will crease under weight. Similarly, if you press your finger into real leather you will see a skin-like reaction, as the surface stretches in response to the applied pressure. Contrastingly, a faux leather bag will have a plasticated feel due to the chemicals used to treat the unnatural material used in the manufacturing process.


Real leather is also slightly water absorbent, meaning it can resist a certain amount of water seeping through its layers naturally. The water resistance (and general toughness) of leather can be improved using creams and waxes. This treatment is vital for ensuring the prolonged life-span of real leather, and although an additional expense, does result in a material which will last a lifetime. Unfortunately no matter the amount of care and love given to a faux leather product it will not last nearly as long as the superior natural leather that is used in our products. This means the majority of faux leather products sadly end up in landfills once discarded - where they will not naturally decompose.


It is hard to describe the distinguished leather scent that has become synonymous with natural leather products. The distinct perfume of natural leather should be rich, earthy and recall the great outdoors. This smell comes from the natural and organic products used in the tanning process which soak into the fibers of the natural leather and give it the irresistible smell we’ve come to adore. Depending on the finish and look of a leather bag, the natural products used will vary. A leather fragrance cannot be replicated in faux leather due to the chemical treatments and plastic materials manufactured for the production process - giving faux leather an odour which can be unpleasant and off putting.


Traditional tannery in Fez in Morocco


The small but significant details mentioned above make the difference between a true leather companion that will last a lifetime and a faux leather bag that will inevitably wear away. Love and care is key to ensuring your real leather product remains a staple part of your ever changing wardrobe thanks to leather’s unique ability to transcend fashion trends.