As some of you may know, my other passion besides jewellery, is crafting things out of leather remnants, such as handbags. One of the most essential parts of investing in leather is knowing how to care for leather. They should always go hand in hand if you want the most bang for your buck.
However, the discussion around leather and its sustainability is a sensitive one, that has been ongoing for years and years. And like with all discussions, there are always two sides to every story. This is one of the areas where I vote for sustainability and quality over quantity. I'd rather buy high quality items and buy them once and take good care of them, rather than having to look for a new replacement every 6 months due to poor quality. The bottom line is that leather has throughout time been an important staple in mankind's wardrobe simply because we have not managed to beat its durability, resilience and quality.
Make an informed decision
All leather I use for personal projects are remnants of hides that would otherwise be discarded and I do my research to make sure no animal was slaughtered solely for their skin. By buying remnants only, I am not increasing the demand on the market, but rather making sure that we minimize waste as much as possible. If this is something that is important to you was well, then I urge you to do some research before buying your next leather item, to make sure that the company you buy from operates as ethically as possible when producing their leather products. There are companies that use solely leather remnants in their work - again to avoid the increase in demand on the market and to make sure that we waste as little as possible.
Leather is an investment - make an informed decision
Investing in leather items means investing your hard-earned cash in something that will give you a bang for your buck - but ONLY if you take care of it. Whether it be a pair of shoes, a belt, a handbag, gloves, a wallet or similar - it's important to care for your leather items if you want them to justify their price tag. Take good care of leather, and it will last you a lifetime.
This is the most important part. If you don't care for your leather, you might as well have opted for the cheap polyester version of that same item.
Not all leather is created equal
These days, there are many brands that have opted in to the ever-growing eco-friendlier market of leather, and not only source their leather from remnants but also make sure the animals who made them had a good life and that the entire process is eco-friendly. One of those brands is based in the Netherlands; O My Bag. They have a wide-variety of styles made from leather that is locally sourced near the tannery; it comes from either local meat by-products or from cows that died a natural death, and then goes through an “eco-tanning” process. The bags are then ethically made in one of their factories.
When choosing your leather goods, you will definitely want to opt for veg-tanned leather rather than chrome-tanned leather if given a choice. The veg-tanned is the more natural, less toxic way of colouring the leather that is more eco-friendly than chrome tanned.
This Saturday, I performed my own bi-annual leather care ritual.
The steps are simple:
1. Wipe the leather product down with a damp cloth
2. Let dry
3. Grease using a professional leather grease. Rub the grease liberally over the leather with a dry cloth, gently polishing the leather as you go and pushing the grease into the leather. Think of it like this: Leather is skin, and skin needs moisturizer to stay soft and not crack. Greasing your leather products makes sure they don't get dry and crack from use. I picked mine up at my local leather shop in Copenhagen. You will most likely find these at your local cobbler/shoemaker or on Amazon (but support local businesses if you can - yay!)
4. Let dry
5. Finally, spray them with a waterproof spray (make sure you do that in a well ventilated area). And you're done! Easy peasy.
The leather grease I use on the family's shoes.
Use a waterproofing spray as the finishing touch to protect your shoes from a shower or two - but don't think this makes them waterproof like rain boots. You should still avoid using your leather products if it's raining. I bought this one at the shoe store.
Look at that face lift :). Now the family's shoes are fit for fight until spring!
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Have a great Saturday, everyone!
xx Marie xx