I always prefer vegetable-tanned leather for my work and personal use. It is my favorite material. Working with it gives me aesthetic pleasure and joy. It is ecological, durable, and has the most pleasant (woody, fruity and berry...) natural scent. It is material with a history and a "soul".
The method of tanning with vegetable tannins was known as far back as Ancient Greece and Egypt, for centuries it was the only one and took several months.
This method is based on plant tannins. Tannins are naturally occurring polyphenols found in tree bark, seeds, roots, leaves, and fruit rinds that preserve plants from insects and diseases. They also give the leather its strength, elasticity, and characteristic colour, often in shades of beige. Tannins are responsible for transforming the animal hide into a unique, easily distinguishable, durable, and resistant material for many years. Tannins give the leather a special warm and lustrous shade that becomes more intense over time (patina).
Once all leather was vegetable-tanned, but the industrial revolution made its input. In 1858, a faster and cheaper method was discovered - chrome tanning. The process took less than one day. Moreover, this leather was more resistant to water. Today, 80-90% of all leather is treated in this way. Conventional chrome leather is a different story. Chromium in many forms is extremely toxic and can cause allergies. The production of chrome leather results in water pollution. Today, there are very few producers of vegetable-tanned leather left in Europe, North America, and Japan. It is now a niche product that costs many times more than its competitors. So why is vegetable-tanned leather still in demand?
Vegetable-tanned leather is REAL leather. Natural dyes are oxidized by mechanical, thermal, and chemical action. As a result of their deposition, a patina is formed - the unique appearance of leather. Every day, every touch of hands, every sunbeam - it remembers everything. Every action leaves its mark on it. In this way it absorbs and stores the traces of our life, it "matures". A vegetable-tanned leather product is an unfinished thing. Only in the hands of the owner does it begin to live. This is the beauty that cannot be expressed in words. A piece that has been with you for years, that remembers all your journeys, is worth much more than a new piece.
Natural "aging" (patination) does not adversely affect the properties of the leather, it naturally shows the effects of time.
No hide is like any other, its special characteristics give it a wide range of applications in form and design. Designers find in it a material that can add value to a fashion project, consumers find a product that transcends fashion, gains value over time. Choosing a vegetable-tanned leather product means choosing a unique material that reflects the lifestyle of the owner.
The molecular structure of vegetable tanned leather is held together by oils. Water, on the contrary, washes the oils out of the leather and deprives it of its strength. An important point in this case is care. Vegetable tanned leather needs regular nourishing moisturizing to maintain its properties.
Vegetable-tanned leather does not contain toxic substances harmful to humans, is well tolerated by those with metal (chromium) allergies, and is fully biodegradable. Its production is associated with a lower burden on the environment and people. By buying vegetable-tanned leather, you can be sure that neither your health nor nature is at risk.