Burn Baby Burn - How to smoke out the leather imposters

Organic Leather vs. The Imposters

Knowing why you should Choose Real Leather , how do you tell the difference between real leather and the imposters — PU Leather, ‘Vegan’ Leather & Vinyl? 

The one test that will give you a definitive answer is The Flame Test 

 Leatherworks burn test leather


Hold a lighter to an edge.

If the product is genuine leather, not a lot will happen. The flame will singe the edge a bit, but barely leave a mark.

PU leather will melt.

Vinyl will go up in flames.

(This is a good reason why genuine leather is ideal for furniture or other architectural applications, as it won’t add acceleration in the event of a fire).

Impressive, eh?  However we’d be surprised if you found a retailer willing to let you use this test on their products, so here are our top three tips knowing if a product is genuine leather or not.

Touch the product. How does it feel? A product made from PU leather or vinyl is generally cold to the touch, whereas a genuine leather item has a warmer, softer feel. Also, genuine leather will have a varying or uneven texture since it comes from an animal hide. If a product’s top layer feels unnaturally smooth, chances are it’s fake leather.

Look closely at the product. Can you spot an exposed edge? Now take an even closer look at that edge. Knowing how PU leather is produced, you should be able to see a thin layer of plastic adhered to the top layer. Also look for those quirks and irregularities in genuine leather that adds to its beauty and uniqueness.

Smell the product. We all know that beautiful, unique smell of leather. Imposters will just smell like plastic.


But rest assured, you don’t need to put a lighter to any of our products as Leatherworks is committed to using 100% natural, organic leather in everything we do – nothing plastic; nothing synthetic; nothing artificial.

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