Perhaps one of the biggest differences between leather and pleather is the price tag. But how else can you spot the fake?

Don’t be fooled into buying faux leather. Here are five ways to spot the difference between leather and pleather.

1. Always read the label

This is the easiest thing to do – if a product is leather, it should be indicated as such on the label. If you can’t find a label or it says something along the lines of “man-made material”, it’s probably pleather. Genuine leather will usually have a label that says:

  • Real leather
  • Genuine leather
  • Top- or full-grain leather
  • Made with animal products

2. Make sure you smell it

Although other customers might give you strange looks, the smell of a handbag is a good way to check if it’s leather. Real leather has a distinctive smell that synthetic leather simply can’t replicate. Not sure what real leather smells like? Find an item that is made from real leather and smell it!

3. Touch it

Real leather feels either course or smooth depending on what type it is – for example, ostrich leather usually has a bumpy texture, while cow’s hide is quite smooth. Does the handbag feel too smooth or a bit like plastic? It’s probably fake. You may also notice that real leather has scratches, creases or wrinkles. This is not a sign of poor quality, it’s actually a sign that it’s real leather.

4. Check the edges

Real leather has a natural rough edge, while fake leather will have perfect, smooth edges.

5. Look at the pores

Leather will have uneven pores, while pleather will be perfect and consistent. Manufactured leather often has a repeated pattern, which you won’t find in genuine leather. Imperfections are also a good indication of leather versus pleather. Real leather is made from animal skin, which means that each product will look slightly different.

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The Modern & Tribal guarantee

At Modern & Tribal we use a variety of materials including exotic skins like ostrich, zebra, springbok and gemsbok. We only use A-grade leather in the manufacturing process, which is provided by Leather Link and Game Skin Tannery in Cape Town, and Klein Karoo Leather in Outshoorn.