Intro to (Faux) Leather

Is leather a sustainable material? Should we keep using it, or should we switch to other alternatives?

With the help of these reflection questions, your students will be prompted to do their own research and critically analyze the use of leather. They’ll learn more about the production of leather, its environmental impacts, its sustainability factor, and about the vegan alternatives popping up on the market. They’ll also learn how to draft pro and con lists and debate about subjects.

Grade 5-6

Duration : 1 period

  • Analysis

  • Discussion

  • Reflection


Learn more about leather and the sustainable vegan alternatives currently on the market.


Watch ”HOTELMOTEL – Matériel” (English subtitles)

Research the different types of leather available.

Make a table listing the pros and cons of each material.

Present your findings to the class.


Pencils and paper, if needed.



Break into six teams. Assign each team one of these six materials:

  • Responsibly-sourced cow leather from known and certified farmers
  • Industrial cow leather (source unknown)
  • Synthetic leather made from petrochemicals
  • Pineapple leather (Pinatex)
  • Mango leather
  • Mushroom leather (Muskin)


Research the type of leather you’ve been assigned. Keep an eye out for the following elements:

  • How is your material made?
  • What can it be used for?
  • Is it currently available on the market?
  • What are the advantages (pros) of this material?
  • What are the disadvantages (cons)?


Share your findings with the class with an oral presentation.


Following the presentations, as a class, rank the leathers from 1-6 according to their advantages and disadvantages.

Food for Thought

It’s hard to find the perfect material! Each one has their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to analyze them all and take all factors into account (like environmental impact, material sourcing, ethical problems, etc.)