Animal Leather, Vegan Leather, and Synthetic Materials: What's the Difference?


Everywhere you turn these days a Vegan or plant-based option of something is popping up whether it be at your local grocery store or on the menu at your favorite café or restaurant.  Or even on your favorite fashion brand’s website promoting their sustainable practices.



What (or Why?) Does That Have Anything To Do With Your Dog?


Most dog harnesses available on the market are made of either animal Leather or of synthetic woven fabrics + materials. Luxury pet brands tend to use real cowhide leather in their product assortment. Real leather is sturdy and has an elevated feel to it but far from friendly to the animals involved. 


More mass market pet brands like ones found on Amazon and in PetCo or PetsMart will use printed synthetic-blend fabrics like nylon + neoprenes, and polyester web strap. These types of materials are readily available, low-cost, and very common in the marketplace. 


There are not many Vegan leather pet products out there for stylish, eco-friendly dogs and paw-parents. We’ve looked and haven’t found much. What we have found are products made with leather-alternative materials which is a step in the right direction. These products may be designed and made using cork, biothane and/or rubberized web strapping, and ultrasuede fabric...which is not suede at all (suede is a type of leather) but is a soft, synthetic non-woven material typically found in products for smaller dog breeds.



But what IS Vegan Leather anyway?  What is it made of?  Where does it come from?


Vegan leather has started to pop-up across different market landscapes over the last few years.  Most of the true, plant-based leather-like materials are not readily available to brands yet due to their novelty in design Industries including the Pet + People Fashion worlds.  


But some cool developments have been brewing for a while. These include materials developed from pineapples and coconuts, and leather-like materials grown, yes GROWN, directly from reishi and mycelium, aka mushrooms.  There is even a brand new cactus leather that has been developed over the last year. 


Once we can get our paws on those, you’ll be the firsts to know. 


Our Vegan Leather Is Your Vegan Leather.


At Magnus Canis + Co., our Vegan Leather is cruelty-free.  The term "Vegan Leather" is basically a super-easy and more commercial name which refers to our ethical microfiber + polyurethane printed finish, aka PU. We use the Vegan leather for some of our harnesses as well as other products.  


Our ethical microfiber PU falls into the category of a non-woven, composite material made up of microfiber.  Microfiber is made of plastic. Yep, PLASTIC. Natural gas is used to create these plastics. Once the plastic is created, it's spun into fibers and can then be woven, knitted or melted into other fabrics and materials. 


Sadly, plastic has become a naughty word these days but the reality is we can’t change the world with one sweep of a broom.  We have to pick our battle(s) and focus there.  The fibers used in our ethical microfiber PU might otherwise end up on a factory floor and possibly into the oceans at some point so in our eyes it’s better off taking those little guys and recycling them up into something useful.


The recycled plastic waste fibers are used to create the strong, stable, and sturdy microfiber material. A polyurethane finish is printed on the surface to give it the look and feel of real animal leather. Sometimes microfiber leather is made of recycled plastics but it can also be made from totally virgin materials as well.



Anything That’s Made with Recyclable Materials is Preferable from a Sustainability Standpoint.  


It’s not a perfect solution for the environment but it is a safer alternative for our other animal friends where the leather is concerned. And why did we choose to use a Vegan Leather as an alternative to the real deal?  Because, unless you’re Hannibal Lector, wearing your friends’ skins fell out of style when Versace banned fur from their design house back in 2018.  


I guess Hannibal didn’t really eat HIS friends...and it was that other dude who wore people’s skins as garments...but you get the idea.


We chose our vegan leather quality very carefully and after many, many months of research, sampling, testing, and trial-and-error to insure that it holds up in both style and durability. We even laminated two plys of the vegan leather quality together to create an even more stable material to cut our harnesses from. Laminating is also known as bonding.  Two pieces of our Vegan leather are taken and then bonded together using a non-toxic, industrial-Strength glue that is also used with animal leather goods. So, it’s STRONG. 


Our vegan leather quality is PETA-approved, durable, comfortable, and comes in a variety of ruff + tuff colors.



Wanna See What We’ve Actually Done With That Vegan Leather?


Head over to our website: www.magnuscanisco.com where you can find our Vegan Leather Harnesses as well as some cool leashes that are woven from recycled plastic bottles pulled right from the ocean. We hope you’ll like what you see because we’re just getting started.


We’re disrupting an industry one Conscious Paw-Parent + Pup at a time.  We invite you to join the pack and the journey with us.




With Grit + Gratitude,

Daniel, Magnus, + Alatar



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