I feel sorry for leather-look trousers. For far too long, they've been blighted by the misconception that they're "cheap-looking" and second-rate. Often labelled as "wet look" or "PU" (aka coated fabric), there's no doubt that these words have done nothing to help its reputation. While the description is important (especially for increasingly savvy shoppers), faux leather was once seen as the fashion equivalent of going to Disneyland Paris: It might have the desired effect, but you know you don't have the real deal (it's Disney World or nothing—let's be honest). However, things are changing. Thanks to the increase in veganism and interest in cruelty-free products, vegan leather is having its moment.
According to Lyst, the global fashion search platform, searches for faux- and vegan-leather trousers are up by 55% month on month. Back in February, fashion industry magazine Drapers reported that from August 2015 to September 2018 consumer insights company Hitwise saw a 39% increase in searches for vegan fashion or vegan clothes in the UK.
At Who What Wear UK, we've watched this trend play out in real life, as we constantly see people wearing vegan sneakers from Veja. The brand—which has only been stocked on Net-a-Porter since 2017—became one of the site's biggest-selling products the week it launched.
All of this means one thing: There's a real appetite for this kind of product. But while leather-look trousers used to just mean skintight drainpipe styles or wet-look leggings, there are now so many chic styles that are just as good—if not better—than their leather counterparts. Don't believe me? Keep scrolling for proof.