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Brown leather reminds us almost automatically of the earth, it is often associated with nature. It is only “natural” that brown leather is considered to be a classic, it could be called the first leather, the “natural” dye colour. In leather-work, brown leather is untimely: it is similar to black, only warmer, a natural colour that suits all the others.

Examples of use of brown leather

Small leather goods are often made from brown leather. We all have memories of a traditional school bag, the one made from worn brown leather that has been through so much in the school playground and been through time. Case, bag or backpack…it is probably in memory of this iconic item that these brown leather objects have become classics when it comes to leather goods. These natural looking objects accompany whole lifetimes, as timeless standards.

Choosing brown leather, whether it is dark or light, is also a simple way of accessorising an outfit: the colour brings a type of neutrality which goes with everything. A brown calf-leather belt, for example, is a must in the closet and can be worn with jeans or a dress. The leather, full-grain or split, can have been worked on in different ways: plaits, saddle-stitched, with rivets or even knotted. This leather-work is also found in smaller leather accessories: a brown leather bracelet brings chic and simplicity to a wrist.

When it comes to shoes, brown leather is found in the men’s and women’s closet: mocassin, derby, richelieu or brown leather boots are a must, easy to match with everything else. Buying a pair of brown leather shoes is like buying timelessness, a natural material made to live and to last, like a rider’s boot. Brown leather can also have a more delicate side: shaft sandals with long or short straps, heels for red carpets or feminin cowboy boots made from brown snake leather are just a few more examples of brown leather items from a woman’s closet.

Brown leather, a “natural” leather ?

Brown is one of the main colours of nature: earth, tree bark, wood, animals…in our imagination, cows, calves, goats are brown, just as snakes and crocodiles are green. Brown leather is therefore often considered the be the most natural, leather that hasn’t been dyed, that is close, if not respectful of, the original material.

However, brown leather, whether it be calf or exotic, is tanned: in other words, it has been through several steps of tanning, including the dyeing stage. These steps are essential to conserving the qualities of the leather, preserving its greatness. By dyeing the leather, all the shades of brown can be made, from the lightest to the darkest: sand, linen, hemp, tobacco, coffee, chocolate…this all comes down to the talent of the dyeing craftsman, making different shades before the leather goes through the finishing stages.

When a tanner describes a piece of leather as natural, he is referring to a specific finishing: aniline finishing. An aniline leather is made by dyeing fully in a bath and is not then covered with an additional finishing layer. Generally, this is applied to full-grain leather, this stage of finishing is a guarantee of quality as it is fairly transparent, allowing you to see the leather is its most natural state, showing all its characteristics. Aniline leather is often considered to be the most noble as the final product does not have layers of finishings that cover the leather: the grain appears as it is, the leather is as natural as can be.

The origins of the word brown

In most latin-based languages like French, the colour is the name of a fruit (“marron”, meaning chestnut). When it is light, we call it beige, when it is dark, dark brown. Beige like sand, dark brown like a bear, brown like the fruit with red streaks. It is definitely a colour linked to nature, a “natural” colour.

Brown evokes “mother nature”: the earth, vegetables, animals…it also holds an idea of simplicity. It is the colour of several monastic orders, it represents humility. The colour of first clothes known to men, it can also be seen as a traditional colour, a back-to-basics colour, a neutral and basic colour. In any case, this symbolic link to nature gives the colour brown a warm and healthy feeling. In decorating, brown leather naturally fits into raw wood architectures for comfortable spaces, respectful of nature.

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