VEGETABLE TANNED LEATHER
We believe in embellishing daily life with beautiful objects and this is why we have selected vegetable tanned leather for our bags.
As its name suggests, vegetable tanning is a more environmentally friendly way of making leather and differs from conventional "chrome tanned" leather making. In striking contrast to chrome-tanning, vegetable tanned leather is:
- A natural, centuries-old technique for tanning leather
- Non-toxic, both for humans and our environment
- A gorgeous, hard wearing material that will age beautifully over time.
If you would like to better understand the different tanning processes, please read on. However if that is sufficient information for now, we invite you to view our collection.
VEGETABLE vs. CHROME TANNING
Prior to creating LUXTRA, we had often heard the term “vegetable tanned” leather but admit we did not know precisely what it signified. Vegetable tanning sounds natural of course, but all leather is natural, right?
The short answer is: no. Here below we share what we have learned and why we champion this beautiful material.
There are two ways to tan (i.e. dye) leather: with vegetable dyes or with chemicals, which is known as chrome tanning.
Chrome tanning uses chromium – a heavy metal - and other toxic substances to treat and colour the raw hides. Figures vary, however most sources estimate that between 85-90% of all leather produced in the world is made with chromium.
Chrome tanning is so prevalent because it is an inexpensive and rapid process. It also allows for bright and bold colours such as smurf-blue, bold yellow and bright white - colours which can only be achieved through the use of synthetic dyes.
Vegetable tanning on the other hand involves natural dyes, patience and skill. True vegetable tanned leather, as used by LUXTRA, sources natural plant-based dyes (“tannins”) from trees and bark, resulting in deep and rich colours such as brown, tan, black and burgundy. The process also requires skilled artisans who work the hides for weeks, months or sometimes even years to enable these dyes to penetrate the leather. Chrome tanned leather on the other hand is finished within days.
Another difference between vegetable and chrome tanning regards the human and environmental impacts.
There is growing evidence that the chemicals used in chromium dying are carcinogenic. Added to this, much chrome tanned leather is produced in developing countries where there are low environmental, health and safety measures. The toxic impact on human health and the surrounding landscape is often left unchecked.
In contrast, LUXTRA's leather is hand worked in Italy in a tannery that uses state of the art processes to minimise any impact on human health and the surrounding environment.
We hope that you share our admiration for vegetable tanned leather as a beautiful, hard wearing and natural product and come to see this wonderful material in a new light.