VEGETABLY TANNED LEATHER? WHAT EXACTLY IS IT AND WHY DO WE USE IT FOR OUR PRODUCTS?
While browsing our homepage you have probably come across the term “vegetable tanned” one time or the other and you may have asked yourself: “Vegetable? What does that mean anyway? "
Leather is one of the oldest natural materials
Leather has been used as a raw material for a wide variety of products for centuries. Due to the rapid perishability of raw animal hides, people began to develop a suitable method for stabilizing and keeping animal hides longer. This process is known as tanning, we know the preserved animal hides as leather.
But tanning is not always the same. Nowadays there are a number of different methods of tanning leather. The type of tanning process has a decisive influence on the quality of the subsequent product. The process of vegetable tanning, also known as tannery or red tanning, is a purely vegetable and natural method of tanning leather. Instead of mineral salts and other chemical additives, as is often the case in the leather industry, the tanning agent in vegetable tanning is made purely from vegetable "ingredients".
In this process, the animal hides are tanned with the help of parts of plants such as tare pods, oak and spruce bark, olive leaves or rhubarb roots. The tannins contained in the plants ultimately form the tannin. During the actual tanning process, the tan extracted from the respective plants and woods, i.e. the tanning agent, is put together with the hides in a pit filled with water. Over time, the hides are repeatedly placed in other baths with a higher tannin consistency. The hides tanned by this process are then placed in depots filled with tanning agents. These have to be changed regularly. Changing the depot is extremely important, as otherwise the use of one and the same depot can lead to the onset of digestion processes and the hides would be completely unusable.
As this very shortened representation shows, the process of a real, purely vegetable tanning process is very time-consuming and can easily take several months. Because of the high expenditure of time and the associated costs, only around 10-15% of global leather production is vegetable tanned today.
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Why do we use vegetable tanned leather?
In addition to environmental and sustainability issues, haptic aspects and characteristics of the leather also play a major role in the selection of our leather. That is why we made a conscious decision to use vegetable-tanned leather for the bags in our CLASSIC LINE. For example, the gentle, vegetable tanning does not close the pores of the leather. You could say that the leather is still alive and that our bag matures with its owners. The natural appearance of vegetable tanned leather and the special, unique grain of each individual skin make each of our bags unique. Vegetable tanned leather becomes softer and more beautiful with use and acquires a special "patina" over time. The leather is also forgiving of minor carelessness, because scratches and signs of wear can be easily polished out with a suitable leather care product.
We recommend our Care & Protect leather care spray, which is made from 90% natural ingredients such as olive oil.
(Signs of use / light patina)
(after treatment with Oberwerth Care & Protect)