When I went on my initial buying journey to find a new leather couch, I came across some nice looking couches on Amazon. Some of the couches appeared unreasonably affordable and right in my wheelhouse as far as style was concerned. I wanted something in a sort of mid-century modern sort of look and Amazon's 'Rivet' brand seemed to meet everything I was looking for.
Yet as I read some of the reviews of one couch called the Rivet Brooke Contemporary Mid-Century Modern i started to see some comments regarding the leather of the couch. And many kept noting that the couch was made of rexine. What the heck is rexine I thought?
After some research, I learned that rexine is an artificial leather, which was first used for book coverings back in the early 1900's. It soon thereafter became utilized as an upholstery covering and was advertised as a cheaper, equivalent to genuine leather. Rexine is produced by taking basic cloth and coating it with a combination of cellulose nitrate and different oils and pigments.
Today, rexine is still used by many furniture manufacturers as a leather alternative, but often consumers don't always know what they are buying when they purchase a sofa made with rexine. The Amazon Rivet couch that I noted above is advertised as 'Tufted Leather' so most consumers would think that were getting a real leather couch. The description even notes that the couch is made of "genuine leather upholstery".
Thus, I decided to reach out to Amazon's customer service team to ask them
Are Amazon Rivet couches made of real leather, or are they made out of rexine?
The answer from the customer service rep:
"The Rivet couches are made from real leather"
I then asked the customer service rep to send me some more detailed information regarding the couch and the materials used. Certainly they must have this information, right? Their response:
"Please do not worry, if ever that there will be a problem with then item, Amazon are welcome to help you with the return process. We are welcome to help you with the return label as well as the refund to be processed. "
Umm..okay this is starting to sound a little suspicious, why wouldn't you just send me what the couch is made of? Most trustworthy manufacturers would be able to do this in a moment's notice.
At this point, I'm not sure if Amazon's couches are made from real leather or from rexine, but I'm pretty suspicious of the whole thing. At the low price points, it would make sense that Amazon is using inferior materials to build these couches. But why not be honest about the whole thing?
The one saving grace is the Rivet Brooke Mid Century Modern Sofa has pretty good reviews (albeit with under 100 reviewers) thus either I'm wrong and this is real leather or the consumers just have no idea what they are buying.