From raw hide to leather

Simply put: leather is tanned hide (skin), which is treated so that its natural strength and elasticity are preserved. Tanning yields material that is durable while being pliable with natural ability to breathe. Leather has an incredible ability to become more beautiful with time. It’s one of the few materials in the fashion industry whose fragrance is an essential part of a quality experience. No wonder we like what we do. What we call hide is leather from smaller animals such as goats, lambs, calves, or pigs. Both words mean more or less the same thing. 

The tanning process. Leather is tanned skin that has been treated to preserv it's natural strength and elasticity. 

The finished and treated material that we call Leather, has a natural ability to breath and an incredible property to age with beauty. Within the fashion industry leather is one of the few materials where is't scent is an essential part of the quality experience.


Leather Vocabulary

 

Grain Leather

The strongest and most durable part of the hide of an animal is just below the hair. The grain pattern in this part of the hide is very tight, and the leather made from here is called "full-grain" leather. 


Embossed Grain

Grain leather that’s embossed so that it has a pattern such as alligator. 

 


Nappa Leather

This is the name for full-grain leather from smaller animals like lamb, kid or calf.

 


NUBUCK

that nubuck is easily sanded for a matte, smooth surface.

 


Suede

When the leather is mechanically roughened to a velvet like quality we call the material Suede.


SPLIT 

The layer of the raw hide that is closest to the animal's body is generally called Split. This is the layer that remains when the Grain leather is parted from the raw hide. 


BONDED LEATHER 

This is a quality where spill and left over parts from other leather production is used to regenerate new bigger parts by binding them together.


COATED SPLIT

This is a process to give the Split leather a colour or structure to resemble a grain leather.


Tanning
 

Tanning is the preserving process that transforms hide into resilient, supple, enduring leather. We use three methods in our tanneries:
 

CHROME TANNING

The most common tanning method worldwide, which is done with chromium salts. The fast, cost-effective process is one advantage. The other is the results, namely, soft, stretchable, water-resistant leather that absorbs dye better than other tanning methods – thus enabling opportunities to use more colors. When handled properly, the chromium used in our tanneries is safe for employees to work with. Its incineration, however, has negative effects on the environment, which places demands on waste management – an area we’re improving as we work together with our suppliers.

SYNTHETIC TANNING

Done with metal (aluminum, zinc, iron, and titanium) – without chromium. Aluminum whitens hide, which is why synthetically tanned leather is also called wet white. That said, the results are similar to those in chromium-tanned leather.

VEGETABLE TANNING

The oldest working tanning method and the most natural way to manufacture leather. The main advantage of vegetable tanning is that environmental impact is lower than with other methods. Tannins are used for tanning, and the tannins are primarily extracted from chestnut trees and Argentinean que- bracho trees. A disadvantage with this method is that clear, bright colors cannot be achieved – just deeper, warmer tones. 


Dyeing
 

Dyeing is done in tanneries. Different dyeing methods are used – depending on the desired look.

ANILINE DYEING

Usually done in a water bath: dyes penetrate the pores, color the leather right through, and provide natural, varied finishes.

SEMI-ANILINE DYEING

Besides coloring the leather right through, light pigmentation and protective lacquer are added to ensure that the leather’s natural appearance is preserved – but not to the same degree as in aniline dyeing.

PIGMENTED LEATHER

The leather is painted with a pigment or a top coat, which gives a more even color. Protective lacquer serves as a fixative.