Is Michael Kors Real Leather?

Michael Kors leather handbags

Michael Kors is one of the most recognized names in luxury fashion. But if you are someone who is seeking cruelty-free products, or are not a fan of artificial leather, you may wonder if Michael Kors products are leather-based. 

Here, in this article, we answer that and other questions.

Are all Michael Kors bags made of leather? 

Not all Michael Kors bags are made of 100% pure leather. But, the brand still does offer a set of products, which contain pure leather while others have combinations of leather with alternative materials.

Several Michael Kors handbags are made of 100% pure Saffiano leather. This will clearly be stated in the manufacturing label. Saffiano leather is heavy, thick, and durable. Since it is made of calf leather, it will be firm and taut and will have a glossy sheen to it.

The Saffiano handbags have a signature, cross-cutting, overlapping design on their surfaces, although now, the production of Saffiano leather without printed designs/mosaics has also taken off. Saffiano leather has both water and scratch-resistant properties. 

In recent times, Michael Kors has also moved into the creation of bags that use synthetic materials like polyester, and also a combination of PVC with leather. 

So not all authentic bags are made of real leather. But the rise of counterfeit bags online and in brick-and-mortar stores has people confused about the genuineness of these products.

This is because even Michael Kors produces bags with synthetic material.

The best way to ensure you get the real deal is to shop at registered Michael Kors retailers. You can also check for the logo and its consistency, the quality of the stitching, and the material/color of the lining which all have subtle but definite differences between the originals and the fakes. 

Counterfeit Michael Kors products do not have the weight of the material or an eye for detail. They will look more careless and those claiming to be pure leather will feel much lighter and saggy than the original. Zippers, handles, etc. that are all known as hardware will look and feel much more sturdy and good quality with the original than fake options. 

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Michael Kors Leather Types 

A lot of Michael Kors’ products use Saffiano leather i.e. calf leather. This is the trademarked Michel Kors design.

The other leather that Michael Kors uses is called Vachetta leather. Vachetta leather is made of cowhides and tanned using vegetable oils.

In addition to this, Michael Kors also uses crocodile-embossed leather and pebbled leather

Crocodile-embossed leather is known as ‘mock croc’. It is not a real crocodile hide, but crocodile prints embossed onto bovine leather or sheep hide (ovine) using a machine to give the effect of it being derived from a reptile.

It is animal-derived and so it is still pure leather. Pebbled leather has a more uneven surface as it is pressed against pebble grain to create a coarse look and feel. It is also derived from the bovine hide, similar to mock crocs. 

Michael Kors also produces patent leather bags, wallets, shoes, etc. Patent leather is essentially regular leather which is coated with layers of oil to give a slick, glossy look. 

Today, synthetic materials like PVC and other plastic coatings are placed over synthetic shoes to create the same effect. But Michael Kors uses authentic calfskin patent leather. 

The patent leather material, when created by a machine, creates a wrinkled effect that is permanent and similar to the embossed pattern. This is another style known as crinkled which is also used across products. 

Animal leather is now increasingly being added in combination with PVC, cloth, and polyester, or being replaced by these synthetic materials in the wake of the animal rights movement. 

Michael Kors Faux Leather Bags

Fully synthetic leather bags are also being produced in different lines and products at Michael Kors. The main components of such bags are plastic-based – PVC (polyvinyl-chloride), polyester, and polyurethane, in differing combinations. 

While they look similar to natural leather, they are less durable, scratch easily, and wear and tear much quicker. 

Wax and pigment dyes are also used for treating plastic-based faux leather in order to create textures and colors. 

Does Michael Kors have vegan leather? 

Michael Kors has a few products that are vegan and 100% cruelty-free. There are perhaps 3-4 handbags that fit this criterion – namely, the ‘Woven Tote’, ‘The Woven Cross-over Bag’, and the ‘Peyton Black’ bags.

But, such products are limited in the catalog. 

Although these bags are labeled vegan by retailers, the Michael Kors website does not have any products that are specifically cataloged as ‘vegan’.

This is probably because people confuse faux leather to be equivalent to vegan leather and label faux leather as ‘vegan’ without knowing the distinction between the two, and despite the fact that the product labeled vegan has used plastic, which is not environmentally friendly.

Vegan leather is made of compostable items such as cork, fruit skins e.g. pineapples, cacti, and certain fungi. 

Michael Kors is not completely vegan in this sense and it may also be using testing or processing procedures that involve animals. So their faux leather products cannot be classified as completely vegan, except perhaps for the single bag mentioned above. 

Does Michael Kors make non-leather bags? 

Yes. Michael Kors has quite a few handbag styles that are primarily made of materials other than leather. 

Some of their bags are made completely with a cotton or painted/coated canvas (which has both cotton and linen). Others have blends of polyester or polyurethane making up the body of the bag. 

But, despite the bag being made completely of alternate materials, the trim, clasp, and attachments are invariably 100% leather. So the bag itself is not 100% non-leather but is made mostly of other materials with some leather embellishments. 

How to clean/wash a Michael Kors leather purse?

You can follow a few simple steps to effectively and safely clean your Michael Kors leather purse/bag. 

Step 1: Wipe surface dirt with wet cloth

To remove the surface dirt, you should take a soft cloth and soak it in warm water containing dish soap. The cloth should be wrung out to drain excess water and then gently wipe or dab the exterior of the purse. This will remove any surface dust or dirt.

Step 2: Clean the leather with microfiber cloth

To clean the leather a more intricate process is necessary. You should use a microfiber cloth (which is made of small strands of polyester and polyamide to create an absorbent cloth.) This micro-fiber cloth should be sprayed with an appropriate amount of leather cleaner. 

You should be careful to use only small amounts of leather cleaner since the substance can scrape against the embossed surface or the patterned leather and ruin the detailed effect. 

This micro-fiber cloth can then be gently rubbed along the leather surface to deep clean the bag and remove any oil stains. 

Step 3: Clean the inner lining

To clean the inner lining, you can use a sponge or cotton swabs.  Apply either an alcohol rub or a fabric cleaner to clean. The lining should be turned inside out, gently sponged with the substance of choice, and left to dry. 

If you have stubborn stains and dirt on your bag, which cannot be removed using household items, you can send your bag to the Michael Kors Handbag Repair and Restoration facility in the United States.

How to protect Michael Kors leather bag? 

Michael Kors has its own Rain and Stain Repellent to increase the durability of its leather products, especially handbags. 

It makes little sense to use other protecting sprays when a custom-made one for the brand is available. It might be a little pricey, but it is specifically made for Michael Kors products and so you know it is tailored to the specificities of your bag. 

There are other protective sprays in the market as well, which can remove stains and remove any spots caused by exposure to rain, sun, or wind. 



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Anand Srinivasan
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