What is polyurethane?
Polyurethane - PU for short - is a group of plastics that occurs as rigid foam, flexible foam, in liquid form or as casting resin. It can be found everywhere in everyday life.
The list is long: mattresses, shoe soles, flooring, car seats, surfboards, backpack straps, plasters, skis, cosmetics, rainwear and and and....
PU coating can make materials highly water repellent and completely waterproof, giving the fabric permanent water impermeability.
A major disadvantage of polyurethane is without a doubt the environmental aspect. This is because PU is not without its problems, both in terms of production and disposal.
Time and again, you come across fashion labels that use "vegan leather" and describe their clothing and accessories as sustainable fashion. However, if you take a closer look, this is nothing more than polyurethane coated material in leather look. Pours Studios feels this is greenwashing and therefore refrains from using embellishing terms for the materials used to make their rainwear. Because polyurethane remains what it is: polyurethane, even if we expectantly hope for new alternatives!
Even innovative "vegan" leather variants such as Pinatex, which is made from the fiber of pineapple leaves and thus from the waste product of the pineapple harvest, are sealed with petroleum-based plastic at the end of the manufacturing chain. So again, there is no way to biodegrade it, although research is already being done on a degradable alternative.
Here is a small list of "vegan materials" and their compositions:
-Eucalyptus leather= 25% eucalyptus leaves + 74% PVC.
-apple leather/grape leather= pomace (leftovers from juice extraction) + polyurethane
-Pineapple leather/Piñatex= pineapple leaves + polylacid
Less is more
In a discussion between sustainable fashion designers Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood, the question once arose: which is worse? Real or vegan leather?
Or isn't the question rather: why buy leather - real or fake - at all? If it is purely about the look and the look, Pours Studios also finds that you can do without it one or the other time and could possibly treat yourself to parts made of other materials from sustainable fashion labels.
But what if you are looking for functionality, i.e. rainwear? Then the selection of sustainable materials is very, very small or even non-existent in the first place. In this case, Pours Studios agrees with both fashion designers: buy less that lasts and, above all, pleases for a long time, because research is still in the very beginning for a more sustainable alternative for waterproof materials.
You'll soon find out what alternatives there are, what recycled PU looks like, and what the research is up to in a new blog post. If you don't want to miss it, you can subscribe to the newsletter.
Check out the timeless rainwear from Pours Studios that you can wear for any occasion:
INFO: A vegan leather jacket can not be worn as rainwear, even if the same material is used. When processing, the sewing needle hurts the material and thus the jacket is no longer waterproof. Pours Studios prevents this by using special seam sealing tape, which is applied to all seams of the rainwear.
INFO: Materials such as Pinatex or apple leather are not suitable for Pours Studios rainwear, as they are water repellent but not waterproof in the long term. Thus, these more sustainable materials do not meet the requirements of the fashion label.