When you try on a pair of patent leather shoes, chances are you may not be sliding your foot underneath any patent leather at all. What you might be slipping into, is really corfam, a common synthetic plastic imposter, a patent leather fake out, if you will. The invention of this organic, that is used widely by manufacturers around the world, is as malleable and moldable as patent leather, giving it a major advantage over natural leather in durability and with a high gloss finish that doesn’t crease easily and cleans up really well with a dash of windex on a damp cloth. Case in point – with regards to a brand new pair of shoes – made from synthetic materials, that I am sporting for the fall.
The disadvantages of plastic patent, one would surmise, would be stiffness (which did actually lessen during this recent mock trial,) a lack of breathability (perhaps, but then again, I don’t ever wear socks, so my feet don’t feel the difference) and lastly, that fake leather just does not look authentic. That last dis must be completely dis-missed. This particular pair of faux patent leather, oxford wing tip imposters, are surprisingly as real looking as it gets. (I am attracted to, and buy an awful lot of pricey patent materials, bags, shoes, etc., so I consider myself pretty knowledgeable.) These arrived so nice and shiny, anyone would be hard pressed to disbelieve their authenticity. And they are so ridiculously inexpensive, I could have purchased ten (10) additional pairs for the very price of the similar (and real patent leather) lace-ups that they look just like. The best part is that this trendy wo-mens wear pair are, flat out, handsome.
Plastic invention subsequently changed the methods for producing artificial leather as the lesser price material finishes are treated, more than a few times, with linseed oil and then, if made well, can easily mimic the pricer alternative. Over time, the improvement of synthetic resins further uncomplicated the process and reduced production costs tremendously – making the mass production of pseudo patent leather achievable. Less cost to the manufacturer and lower cost to the consumer.
I love a bargain. And I am always seeking inventive ways to achieve a certain ‘look’ at an affordable price, trying to keep it real. And I am not kidding you when I report that more often than not the result is serendipitous.
Photographs by C.Greene