Suede fabric was traditionally a type of leather with a napped finish, but has come to mean any type of fabric with a similar napped or brushed finish. The term is derived from the French "gants de Suede", or "Gloves of Sweden". Suede fabric is made from the underside of the animal skin, resulting in a fabric that is less durable than those made from the outer layer, but considerably softer and thinner. Suede's delicate appearance and velvety softness make it a perfect choice for adding a touch of outdoor elegance to any project. Synthetic alternatives to suede fabric have recently appeared, such as ultrasuede, which has the durability of the natural fabric and the stain resistance of a synthetic, and microsuede, a microfiber blend which has a superb stretch and is popular in upholstery.
Suede fabric is widely used in fashion accessories, such as purses wallets and shoes. The napped texture and open pores of the material make suede vulnerable to stains and dirt, and should be protected with stain guard and cleaned immediately.