Fashion: True or false, coloured leather is one of spring's brightest trends
Inject some life into faux leather with rainbow colours, says Prudence Wade
LEATHER has a bit of a stuffy reputation; it tends to bring to mind uncomfortable school shoes, or unyielding trousers that make you sweat.
This season, however, leather has been given a much-needed revamp – and it's all about bringing a bit of life and colour into your look.
In recent years, making clothes out of animal products has become a hot button topic in the fashion industry. Big brands like Gucci and Burberry have stopped using fur, and while leather is still used by most major houses, there certainly has been a lot more experimentation with fake alternatives, both in high fashion and on the high street.
Fenty – the LVMH-owned brand set up by Rihanna – recently came out with a whole new collection of fake leather. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) awarded Rihanna a Compassion in Fashion award for the work, with PETA senior vice president Lisa Lange saying: "With her new vegan collection, Rihanna shows how easy it is to create a killer look that no animal had to die for."
The go-faux fashion movement has been gathering pace. While there are still concerns over the environmental impacts of manufacturing vegan leather, there are plenty of natural alternatives.
"Leather can actually be made out of pineapple leaves, apple skin, mulberry leaves, mushrooms and cork," says Matt Turner, spokesperson for The Vegan Society. "In the coming years, we hope that this will become the new normal."
The Higg Materials Sustainability Index evaluates and compares the environmental impacts of different materials. With a lower score of 43, polyurethane (PU) synthetic leather is judged to be less harmful for the environment than the production of cow leather, which scores 163 on the index.
The trend for coloured leather is sweeping social media. Even if you're only getting dressed up for yourself, you'll be amazed how a bright hue can boost your mood, compared to dressing in plain, neutral tones.
And the great thing about this trend is how versatile it is. You can pick an accent piece – be it a pink jacket or red skirt – and make the leather pop of colour the centre of your outfit.
In terms of colour, really anything goes. Pick whatever colour you like, as long as it isn't black or brown. Here are our top picks if you want to get the look...
:: Zara Faux Leather Leggings in Red, £12.99 (were £19.99)
:: New Look Leather-Look Belted Biker Jacket in Pale Pink, £35.99
:: Aldo Eugenius Boots, £44 (were £110)
:: Zara Faux Leather Skirt in Olive Green, £49.99
:: Lola Skye Blush Crocodile Design Skirt, £16.80 (was £28) Dorothy Perkins
:: Glamorous Button Front Skater Shirt Dress in Petrol, £38, ASOS
:: UNIQUE21 70's Structured Blazer Dress in Pistachio, £27 (was £45), ASOS
:: ASOS DESIGN Petite Button Through Leather Look Belted Jacket in Lilac, £48, ASOS