I recently found my old leather crafting journal while clearing out an old wardrobe and wanted to share my knowledge about 3 of my favorite leather types. So here goes!
There is an array of leather types from skin types and cuts, to textures and finishes. Just like the diverse library of garments and fabrics out there, the leather determines how an accessory looks as well as how long it can last.
Most of the bags that we receive at Honest Crafters are made from cow, goat and sheep leather but exotic skin and fur make an appearance occasionally. Cow leather (the most common) starts as a thick skin and is then split into multiple skins. The general rule is that you pay for what you get; the higher the price, the better the leather- full grain being at the top followed by top grain. Which also explains the difference in price between your favorite bags! I’ve highlighted 3 kinds of leathers below and all you need to know about them and how they can be kept looking their best!
1. Aniline Leather
You’ve seen many designer leather bags in flashy colours. These bags are made from chrome/ aniline leather created through the tanning process to achieve that deep shade and bright colours we’ve all grown to love. This means that the paint is superficial and when it comes to us for a colour restoration, you won’t even notice what has been restored! The fine texture of the leather will be retained without altering the look of the grain.
2. Vachetta Leather
A classic that we see on almost all LV bags and some Coach bags. But what is Vachetta leather? It is an uncoated untanned leather which absorbs everything. Meaning, it’s even more susceptible to stains and watermarks. New Vachetta starts off light and turns a honey colour over time (a process called patina) and this progression is inevitable.
Things to avoid:
Using moisturizer or hand sanitizer when carrying a Vachetta trimmed bag (especially the handles)
Touching the Vachetta leather with dirty hands
Getting caught in the rain
Allowing your bag to rub on denim or other unfasted colours.
We’ve seen a lot of Vachetta leather bags that have been over-seasoned and cracked but thankfully we’re the only bag repair specialist in Singapore that can replace your Vachetta leather with brand new ones to have your bag looking new again!
3. Exotic Leather
Now for a total contrast that some may consider an acquired taste- the exotic leathers. Rather than block coloring, exotic skins are often treated by hand. Crocodile leather is generally hand dyed so the detail of the scales is kept as a visible feature. As being an extremely durable leather, it will last a lifetime if maintained by regular conditioning and color touch-ups.
So, there you have it, 3 of my favourite types of leathers. The knowledge of our artisans goes beyond knowing how to remove certain stains but it comes down to experience whereby sampling and testing ensures restoration techniques are always evolving. Each bag is different to us and there is no such thing as a one size fits all.
If you’ve got anything for us to service then don’t hesitate to send them in.