About Water Based PU Leather (WBPU) l James&Co


Many brands describe their synthetic leather products as faux leather, vegan leather, leather look.

These alternative leather fabrics are cruelty-free and vegan because they are not the leather from animals.

However, they are not eco-friendly because the fabrics are either polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU). PVC and PU are plastics which consist of poisonous substances and a high percentage of chloride, a highly toxic chemical element

'Most faux leathers consist of a knitted polyester base with a PVC or polyurethane coating. But because they're essentially plastic-based, they come with many of the same environmental problems of other synthetics. They're usually manufactured from fossil fuels and take a long time to break down once they reach the end of their useful life.'

James&Co does not tailor its apparel in chemicals-based PU or PVC.

The leather look alternative fabric used by James&Co is water-based PU (WBPU) that we call eco leather. It is the product of an R&D facility formed to develop environmentally protective alternatives to PU and PVC: ShuQiao based in Linyang City, China. The brand name for the product is 'Beyllos'.

Unlike traditional plastic-based PU, both the WBPU fabric and the manufacturing processes tick green boxes.

The raw materials for WBPU are eco-friendly, water-based and no chemicals are used. The fabric is bio-degradable. The production process is technology developed by ShuQuia which is an integrated and automated line from beginning to end. It is a short process with zero DMF and low carbon gas emissions. Green & sustainable processing leading to a green & sustainable fabric.

ShuQiao is a leading producer of WBPU.

But because of the recognition of the harm done to the environment by oil-based PU and PVC, it is not the only one investigating. Leading R&D entity Bayer is also on the job.

And don't freak out at the thought of using the resource of water to create the fabric. The water-based synthetic leather fabrics uses 95% less water than the DMF process in PU.


Eco leather for James&Co outerwear is a top quality product. It is soft, flexible, doesn't peel or lose color, and is a stylish leather look alternative.


It looks great tailored in its natural state (a la Frannie). And with a wax-wash finish of silver (a la Juliana) or light gold (a la Ellie).


  • Avoid PVC and PU because of their high toxicity

  • Don't buy outerwear described as faux leather/vegan leather/polyurethane

  • As a rule of thumb: reduce, reuse, recycle

Download our authoritative text on why traditional pu is on the way out to be replaced by sustainable vegan leather.