Know Your Leather: Telling Real from Faux

Know Your Leather: Telling Real from Faux

Helen Grisdale of Seran Ghetti tells you how to make sure that leather is real


Looking for real leather but often disappointed with the faux you got? It can get quite frustrating when you pay good money for a leather bag or a pair or shoes only to realise later that they are synthetic.

There’s a world of fake leather or ‘pleather, out there and telling the difference has now become significantly tougher. We caught up with Helen Grisdale, owner and designer at Seran Ghetti to find out how to tell between the two and make sure you have invested in a good long-lasting piece.
1. If it says Man – Made, then it is just that

As you do with food, make it a point to read labels when you buy accessories too. If it says manmade material, it is unquestionably faux leather.

2. Surface grains should not be perfect

Know Your Leather: Telling Real from Faux

Check the surface grain on the leather item. If the pattern is even and perfect, that’s a red flag for a machine-made material. Real leather tells a story - it has wrinkles, scratches and imperfections.

3. Smell it. Yes really!

There’s bound to be a natural smell if it’s leather – unlike plastic or chemical smelling odour. Unsure of what leather smells like? Go home and smell the real leather bits you own.

4. Press and bend the leather

Know Your Leather: Telling Real from Faux

Real leather wrinkles like skin. Press into the material to check if gets wrinkled. Bending the leather also demonstrates elasticity, something that faux leather lacks.

5. Don’t be afraid if it’s coloured

Know Your Leather: Telling Real from Faux

Coloured leather is real. Colouring agents and dyes can be added to both real and synthetic leather so don’t make bright colours turn you off.

6. Ask questions

Know Your Leather: Telling Real from Faux

If it’s real leather, the shop or brand seller will be keen to talk about the history behind it. “For instance, the leather used by Seran Ghetti is ethically sourced. I absolutely love to get behind the story of our brand and how I make sure the right leather makes its way to my products” says Helen. If on the other hand, the seller isn’t keen to talk about it or seems unsure of the source of the product, go back to point 1!

Seran Ghetti is a Singapore based company specializing in beautiful, ethically obtained African animal hide products ranging from cushions, exotic floor coverings and unique tribal clutches. To shop their fabulous products, visit

Natasha Tulsi

04 Mar 2017, 10:00 AM

Marketer by day, Natasha is passionate about all things travel and food! This mum of one has worked with leading brands across the globe and now helps businesses build strategy and content. Natasha also heads up Communications at Expatgiving and helps connect individuals with their dream non-profit role! Reach her at email