Unveiling the Manufacturing Process of Synthetic Leather

Unveiling the Manufacturing Process of Synthetic Leather

Hey Creators,
It's Brandon from Jesco here. 
This blog post is going to be a part of the transparency series where I explain the manufacturing process of how things are being made. It's my duty as a manufacturer to let you all know how things are made so that you can make a better decision what type of materials you want to use in your life. So without further ado, let's delve into the captivating world of artificial leather, with a particular focus on polyurethane (PU) leather. 
As brands and designers, it's crucial to understand the manufacturing process behind the materials we use. We'll explore the step-by-step journey of PU leather, while also shedding light on sustainable alternatives. Among these alternatives, we'll emphasize the incredible potential of silicone leather. So, let's dive in!


Polyurethane leather, commonly known as PU leather, is an artificial material that replicates the appearance and texture of genuine leather. PU leather is widely used in the fashion industry for its versatility, affordability, and durability. Unlike genuine leather, PU leather is not derived from animal hides but rather created through a manufacturing process.

1.1 The Basics of PU Leather:

PU leather is composed of a fabric base, typically made from polyester, which is coated with a polyurethane layer. This layer gives the material its leather-like appearance and texture. By altering the production process, manufacturers can achieve different finishes, colors, and thicknesses of PU leather.


The production of PU leather involves several key stages, each contributing to the final product's quality and characteristics. Here, we'll walk you through the primary steps of creating PU leather.

2.1 Preparing the Fabric Base:

The first step in the manufacturing process is preparing the fabric base, which serves as the foundation for PU leather. The fabric is typically made from polyester due to its strength, durability, and ability to bond well with the polyurethane coating.
Even though polyester is one of the most widely used fabric base for making PU leather, there are other materials such as cotton, rayon and nylon that are use in combination as the fabric base. 

2.2 Coating the Fabric with Polyurethane:

Once the fabric base is ready, it undergoes a coating process where a layer of polyurethane is applied. This layer is responsible for mimicking the appearance and texture of genuine leather. Manufacturers use various techniques, such as spreading or spraying, to achieve an even and uniform coating.
In Jesco's case, we coat a thin layer on what's called a "Release Paper" to make the surface of what will ultimately become the surface layer of your PU leather. This release paper will have various textured patterns on it that will show once it is peeled off after the curing process.
After this layer has been formed, then we bond the fabric base with the layer of PU that has been created. 

2.3 Printing and Texturing:

After the polyurethane coating is applied, the fabric undergoes printing and texturing processes to enhance its visual appeal and imitate natural leather characteristics. These processes involve embossing patterns and textures onto the surface, creating a wide range of options for designers to choose from.
This process is mostly applied to synthetic leather that utilizes PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) or TPU (Thermal Polyurethane). The release paper that we use already has patterns engraved onto it which makes it much easier to produce. 

2.4 Drying and Curing:

Once the desired texture and patterns are applied, the coated fabric is carefully dried to remove excess moisture. This step is crucial to ensure the stability and quality of the final product. After drying, the fabric undergoes a curing process to solidify the polyurethane coating, making it resistant to abrasion and wear.
Usually the curing time for PU leather is anywhere between 36-48 hours. It will sit in a curing room with a set temperature to make sure that the PU resin is fully solidified and the mixing agents have all evaporated. 
If the mixing agents that are used in the process do not fully dissipate, you'll be left with a PU leather that smells a little funky due to the residue of agents that are still trapped inside the material. Be careful of PU leather that smells fishy and ask your manufacturer for an exchange of produce if this is the case for you! 

2.5 Finishing Touches:

To enhance the appearance and durability of PU leather, additional finishing treatments are applied. These treatments may include the application of protective layers, such as topcoats, to increase resistance to water, stains, and UV radiation. The fabric is then trimmed, inspected, and prepared for distribution to fashion brands and designers.
Depending on the final purpose of the PU leather, there are various post finish processes that can be applied to achieve a specific effect. For example, this coated leather were to be used as a part of the firefighter's uniform, then an additional coating must be applied after the leather has been cured to make sure that it is fire resistant (to a certain temperature). 
If you're looking for a metallic finish, then a post process procedure of bonding a silver foil to your finish leather will be necessary. 
It's important to communicate with your manufacturer the final produce that this leather will be used for in order for the best results! 


While PU leather offers several advantages, it's essential to explore sustainable alternatives that align with environmentally conscious practices. One such alternative that deserves special attention is silicone leather. Let's explore the characteristics and production process of silicone leather.

3.1 Silicone Leather: A Sustainable Marvel

Silicone leather is an innovative and eco-friendly alternative to traditional leather and PU leather. It is made from a combination of silicone, a synthetic polymer, and natural or recycled textiles. This unique composition offers numerous benefits, including:
  • Environmental Friendliness: Silicone leather reduces the reliance on non-renewable resources and minimizes environmental impacts. The use of recycled textiles further enhances its sustainability.
  • Durability: Silicone leather boasts exceptional durability, making it long-lasting and resistant to wear and tear. It retains its shape and texture even after prolonged use, ensuring a sustainable choice for fashion items, perfect for branding a great product.
  • Water Resistance: Unlike PU leather, silicone leather exhibits excellent water resistance properties. It repels water, making it ideal for accessories and garments that may encounter moisture or rainy conditions.
  • Versatility: Silicone leather is highly adaptable and can be produced in a variety of textures, colors, and finishes. It offers designers a wide range of creative possibilities while maintaining sustainability.


3.2 The Manufacturing Process of Silicone Leather:

The production of silicone leather involves the following key steps:
  • Textile Selection: High-quality textiles, either natural or recycled, are carefully chosen as the base material for silicone leather. It's important to test the material with silicone because this raw material is harder to work with and some fabric base don't work with silicone. 
  • Coating with Silicone: The selected textile is then coated with a layer of liquid silicone, which permeates the fibers and creates a strong bond. This process ensures a durable and flexible material. This stage is carefully monitored as most of the erroneous results happen during this stage of manufacturing. 
  • Curing: The coated fabric is cured to solidify the silicone layer and enhance its strength and resilience. Curing can be achieved through heat or chemical processes, depending on the specific requirements of the manufacturer. As a manufacturer of silicone leather, we cure our silicone leather naturally with heat to ensure that the manufacturing process is also economical. 
  • Finishing: Once the silicone layer is cured, the fabric undergoes finishing treatments, it is carefully examined to make sure that the properties of silicone are exemplified in each yard. 


PU and silicone leather presents an exciting opportunity for brands and designers to embrace sustainable fashion practices without compromising on style or functionality. By opting for either of these synthetic leathers, you can:
- Reduce Environmental Footprint: Choosing silicone leather helps minimize the environmental impact associated with traditional leather production and PU leather manufacturing.
- Promote Recycling: By utilizing recycled textiles as the base material for silicone leather, you actively contribute to the promotion of a circular economy and the reduction of textile waste.
- Cater to Conscious Consumers: With the increasing demand for sustainable fashion, offering silicone leather products caters to the preferences of environmentally conscious consumers. It positions your brand as a leader in ethical and eco-friendly practices.


As we conclude our exploration of artificial leather and its manufacturing process, we hope you now have a comprehensive understanding of PU leather and its sustainable alternative. While PU leather remains a popular choice, it's essential to embrace materials like silicone leather that embody both style and sustainability. By incorporating silicone leather into your designs, you contribute to the movement towards a more environmentally conscious fashion industry. Let's make sustainable choices that shape a brighter future for fashion!
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