The look…sensual and rich. The feel..it begs to be touched. And definitely, the smell…awakens powerful memories and positive moods, connects to nature and no other scent can imitate that of leather.
Leather is a lifestyle; whether it cushions your body in the seat of your automobile or brings warmth to the interior of your home through furniture or floors, frames for mirrors, valued historical books, or customized cigar or jewelry boxes.
In fashion, leather’s versatility is everywhere. The range of fashion in outerwear and stylish clothing, protecting your hands from the winter elements in soft lambskin or kidskin gloves, fashioned into the finest bespoke shoes for the well dressed man, or enhancing a diva’s jewelry collection with select leather pieces.
And of course Ladies, our favorite…handbags.
Let’s be clear, not all leather was created equal. Inexpensive and less durable items are created from bonded leather which is essentially a process of shredding leather scraps and fiber, then mixing it with bonding materials that is then pressed together with a fiber or paper backer. This keeps consumers replacing their products after short periods of wear and tear.
So let’s take a quick look at the different types of leather.
Cow is the most common source for hides and it is processed in a few ways:
Full Grain Leather which is made from the finest natural hides that have not been sanded or buffed to remove imperfections. Durable, does not wear out and over time develops a rich patina. The types of products made from this leather is high quality leather furniture, footwear and bespoke cases. Full grained calfskin handbags are made from the skins of young cattle and are prized for their smooth texture and fine quality.
Top Grain leather is the most common type in high-end leather products. It is the second highest quality which is the top layer of the skin (smooth on one side and has a slight nap on the other side). The smooth side shows less of the natural grain and has a cleaner look as does many hides with a chrome tanned finish.
Split Leather is the tougher inner layers of the skin and will come in various thickness depending on the hide tanning application. It is less costly and used extensively in lower cost furniture and garments and is represented as “Genuine Leather”.
A subset of Split Leather is Suede which comes from the same cut of the interior split of the hide and is buffed. It is velvet-like, soft with a ‘fuzzy’ look and feel and is a popular choice for leather hobo bags and backpacks. If Beau Satchelle uses an interior, suede will be one of the few selections because of the soft and luxurious feel and the array of colors that can either be a contrast or compliment to the bags exterior.
Less common leathers include buckskin leather, patent leather (used more for shoes and bags) deerskin, nubuck and Russia leather.
In the category of exotic leather for handbags and other smaller accessories (clutch bags, belts, passport wallets, etc.), Beau Satchelle will include a selection of ostrich, python, alligator and stingray.
So what leathers will Beau Satchelle’s be working with this year? We especially want to continue building our collection of handbags using full grain leather but include more premium choices (i.e. shrunken calfskin, french calf and several exotic skin leathers) as well as continue to increase to our line of bespoke luxury specialties that will include the attache’ and travel luggage, made out of kidskin or bridle leather. We also plan to showcase an ‘exclusive’ collection of connoisseur products specific to the request of individuals wanting that special luxury good when price isn’t a concern.
The leather type is only the first part of the process. In a future blog, we will be discussing leather tanning processes, tbat are more environmentally friendly and what to look for when purchasing ‘premium’ leather hides and skins. -AJ
Tell us about your favorite type of leather.
Ebay.com/leather types and terminology