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March 01, 2021 2 min read

Latex and vinyl are two fabrics that look very similar, but are, in fact, different. Yet, vinyl is often mislabeled as latex, something noted in our last blog post on Beyonce’s latest Ivy Park x Adidas collaboration. As you can see below, the two look similar, so it’s easy to see why vinyl is often mistaken for latex. But in reality, there are some important differences between the two. Keep reading for a lesson on what makes the two fabrics different and what to look for so you can ensure you’re buying the right fabric.

Beyonce in a vinyl bodysuit:

Beyonce in a vinyl bodysuit

Vex latex bodysuit:

Latex bodysuit

If latex and vinyl look so similar, what’s the difference? And why does it matter? Here's a round of fact and fiction about the two materials. 

Latex and vinyl arenot the same material. 

FACT. The biggest difference is that latex, which is a form of rubber, is a natural fiber and comes from a tree. Vinyl, on the other hand, is man-made. It comes from plastic and is a widely-produced synthetic material. When it comes to clothes, vinyl is commonly referred to as PVC. 

Latex and vinyl are made the same way. 

FICTION. Since one is a natural material and the other is synthetic, they’re constructed differently. Rubber, or latex, is glued together, while vinyl is sewn. 

Latex and vinyl are the same price.

FICTION. Given the construction differences between the two, the average cost of latex is more than double the cost of vinyl. This means the average selling price of latex is also more expensive than items that are truly vinyl. 

Vinyl is often mislabeled as latex.

FACT. Many retailers, and even industry publications, incorrectly refer to vinyl as latex, which causes further confusion. Vinyl is used to simulate the look of latex, but since it’s cheaper and easier to produce, many retailers presumably see the benefit in producing vinyl clothing instead of more expensive latex and incorrectly referring to it as latex.

Rest assured everything you see at Vex is actually latex, but it can be difficult to spot the imposters.  Here are a few examples of vinyl items mislabeled as latex.

Vinyl dress

(Source: Fashion Nova)

Vinyl dress

(Source:Fashion Nova)

LaQuan Smith vinyl runway looks

(LaQuan Smith SS21 Collection Source: Daily Front Row)

When you’re shopping, remember to look at the price; that will be a good indication of the fabric and its quality. If two pieces are listed as being latex, but one is much less expensive than the other, the cheaper one is likely not latex. For example, the red dress pictured above was labeled as latex and listed at $44.99, while other items listed on this site that are actually latex run at $100 and higher (a more realistic price point for latex). Vinyl will always be less expensive, but the quality will also fall short compared to latex. We’ll continue to look for and share any latex imposters, but in the meantime, we hope you enjoyed this little fashion lesson!


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