About Our Leather

A little bit about the veg tan leather we use… also sometimes referred to as ‘natural leather’. 

Vegetable tanning is an ancient method of tanning hides that has been around for over 5,000 years, and until recently, was the main method of tanning. Veg tanned leather refers to leather that is tanned with the tannins naturally found in the wood, bark, leaves, buds, stems, fruits, seeds, roots, and galls of plants. Some common plants used to tan leather are oak and spruce bark, quebracho, tara pods, olive leaves, rhubarb roots or mimosa. These substances are placed in a pit along with the skins and hides. As these tannins are derived from plants, the leather is called vegetable-tanned leather.

There are around 300 different plant species worldwide, which can be used for tanning – each one giving the final product a distinct characteristic.

Our leather is tanned using Mimosa bark, which makes the leather pliable and supple. 

Recently, the more modern and industrialized tanning methods have become common, and it can be assumed that nowadays only 10 - 12% of all leather is vegetable-tanned. Today, the majority of leather used is tanned using chrome, which is a quicker method of tanning, but very toxic. Chrome tanned leather uses using a solution of chemicals, acids and salts to tan the hide. Chrome, like any heavy metal, is extremely toxic and environmentally damaging, thus creating wastewater leftovers that are also extremely toxic. In comparison, the waste created by veg tanning is used for fertilizer on the ranches surrounding the tannery. 

We like to do things the old-fashioned way.
The tried-and-true way.
And in this case, the more sustainable way.

 

The Aging Of Veg Tan Leather 

Your carryall will endure the wear of everyday use and will become more beautiful with the years. Due to the careful tanning process and the natural tannins used, our leather develops a rich and beautiful patina, and actually gets better with time and use. The leather gets softer and darker, and like a well-worn saddle, it will mold specifically to you. Every person carries and uses their bag differently. The place where you pick up and hold your carryall and the places your hands naturally rest will darken more rapidly and develop into the darkest patina which shows like a fingerprint making every bag unique. The scratches acquired should not be seen as flaws, but rather as an extension of the creation process.

You are the final designer of your bag.

We offer our products in many different colors but, if you are looking for the most drastic patina, go with the natural. Our natural-colored leather develops into the rich caramel color shown on the Lunch Pail above. 

Our un-dyed leather we make our Regenerative bag out of is leather in its most raw state and will pick up all the marks and memories of your life. Every drop of rain, every little sticky fingerprint, every summer day will leave an indelible mark. It’s a journal of your time together. A love story, if you will. A story you can look back on and remember little times that may otherwise slip through the cracks of your memory. We have a sample bag in our shop that I carried for about 3 years. It started out the lovely fresh pink color and has developed a rich dark patina that everyone is drawn to.

People often ask how they can get their bags to look like our well-loved samples the answer is, use it! 

Go ahead and use your bag. Let life leave its marks.

You’ll love it all the more. We promise. 

 

 

We love to see pictures of our leather products as they age. Please send any images you have of you and your well-loved bag to us a info@pennyroyaldesign.com.