For centuries leather goods have gone hand in hand with quality work and ethical design. The art of crafting such refined materials has been put in the foreground of price and priority. Working with high-end French designers who use different leather materials in their products, it has become apparent that there is a wide variety for consumers to learn from.
When ordering from Made en France we want our customers to know exactly what they are receiving when they purchase a leather good. We have sensibly accumulated a list to what we have found to be a beginners guide to the modern consumer of leather goods.
When it comes to the highest of quality when seeking luxury furniture, luggage or footwear it is commonly known that full-grain leather is being used. This refers to the action or better said no action has been imposed on the fabric, meaning, it hasn’t been sanded or received any buffing to remove its imperfections. Although this action may make the leather more appealing to the eye and flexibility, by not doing this it remains at the top of the chain and keeps its entire durability.
More commonly used on your beloved handbags and wallets is the second grade of top-grain leather. The smooth texture finish is accomplished with the the manufacturing clearing the leather of its imperfections to make it thinner as well as easier to work with. It is quite a smart action to take on everyday products because it helps to prevent stains that might occur more when comparing full-grain leather products.
Moving forward, the use of cowhide leather, calf or sheep skin is also commonly used, this is derived from what we know as suede. The nap like surface of this leather is formed from splitting the leather, its signature feel makes it highly less durable because of its thinner. Regarding this lower grade we find suede to be used in a handful of shoes and affordable purses.
Still leather, but moving down the teers is “corrected” or “genuine” leather. When you see a good with a textured surface, this is accomplished when an unnatural grain is impressed on to the leather. This step can be furthered with a sprayed stain to create a more official appearance. We see this in less high-end products and not so much in slow fashion.
Lastly we have made it to bonded leather. Typically using shred up, leftover scrap pieces the shreds are bonded together with artificial chemicals such as latex. It is un-telling to know if this process is being used on a products except for the tip that it is commonly in cheaply made goods. Manufactures of affordable furniture and fast fashion stores will use this level of leather.