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Why buy leather?

Leather is known for its resistance thanks to its fibre structure which gives it unique physical characteristics. Its age-old existence makes it a sustainable and high-class product, naturally it is therefore a favourite for big luxury brands. Leather can have a smooth or grained aspect and can present a drawn print or a velour effect (nubuck). Beyond the visual aspect, when you buy leather, you are guaranteed an access to a large diversity of finishes with a variety of different textures and a capacity to acquire a unique patina over time. You can buy leather choosing the finish depending on what the material will be used for.  

The calf leather from Tanneries du Puy is mainly used for leather goods such as bags, also for small leather goods like wallets and card holders as well as for the making of shoes and boots. This leather can also be a component of fashion accessories such as belts, jewellery or watch straps. Our leathers can also be found in the cladding trade as well as interior design.

With more than 300 different finishes available, Tanneries du Puy offers a wide range of possibilities with variable criteria such as thickness, flexibility and visual aspect. On top of finishes like the “Athena Maroquinerie” or the “Cappa Calf”, thin and flexible, or even “Marocalf TR” used in bag conception, Tanneries du Puy are known for their “Box Calf” finish which requires a specific tanning, giving it a better hold. Shoes made out of “Box Calf” will keep a good quality over time.

Another leather available at Hcp Group is crocodile leather which has always been known as the most prestigious one above all others. This can be explained by its rarity but also its technicity: not many tanneries are capable of tanning crocodile leather. The natural pattern of the leather makes it more difficult to work with. A craftsman has to be creative with his conception, play with the shapes in order to enhance the product and give an even more remarkable result.

Why buy a full leather hide?

To avoid having any colour or structural differences on one same article, it is preferable to buy leather in a way that allows you to cut all the pieces for the product from one leather hide.

Depending on the size of the pieces of leather that make up your product and whether you wish to create a homogenous range or not, you can either decide to buy leather from a single calf hide or assemble pieces from different ones.

An essential criterion for excellence in a calf leather product, as well as the craftsman’s expertise, is the size of the leather pieces that make up this product. A consumer will always choose a product made out of one singular piece of calf leather over a product made with an assembly of smaller cuts of leather. The word “leather” is very closely associated to the word “luxury”: the bigger the surface of the leather piece, the more it is perceived as high-class.

For example, a belt cut from a single piece of leather has a longer life expectancy (reassuring for the buyer) well as a belt made from several pieces (glued or sewn together) can be perceived as a temporary product, only lasting one season.

If the craftsman decides to buy leather from a single hide, he is insuring himself a greater work comfort when it comes to placing his cutting templates. By using the surface’s specificities, he is able to create very high-quality products. As well as the main product cut out of this piece of leather, the remaining calf leather can be used to make additional products such as accessories for the main product. By selling, for example, a bag accompanied by a wallet or card-holder made from the same leather hide, you are presenting a homogenous line of articles which is of course not possible if these articles were made from various offcuts of different leather pieces.

Crocodile leather is particularly specific as every piece of hide has a different scale pattern. The pattern depends on the part of the body the piece of leather was taken from (crocodile belly, crocodile side, crocodile head, crocodile tail). A full hide is necessary in order to best use the natural patterns for the final product. If you buy crocodile leather for the confection of a bag, what will make your product exceptional is the use of the different cuts of leather from one piece, for example: the crocodile tail for the straps, the crocodile sides for the front and back of the bag, the lower belly for the flap and leather from the crocodile head for accessories. In our crocodile leather tanneries, you will only find whole hides, we don’t have any offcuts for sale.

The hides that present any heavy physical markings cannot be fully used. They can however be optimised: instead of using one single hide for the finished product, several are necessary. The price will not necessarily be impacted, the seller will take into account what the buyer will have needed to cut off. The aim is for the client to be able to buy leather and cut what he needs from it and not to determine in advance the number of hides needed. For buyer and tanner, the materiel needs to be optimised.

How to know if the leather is authentic?

With decree n°2010-29, French regulations give clear guidance concerning the use of the word “leather”. Authentic leather is a material that can only result from the transformation of animal skin through tanning preserving its original fibre composition.  

A product made from calf leather is stamped with a specific marking that guarantees the authenticity of the materiel used:

Pictograms used for the marking of leather shoes, according to the decree.

In the term “synthetic leather”, the use of the word “leather” is incorrect as it designates here a synthetic material made from a petrochemical procedure. The same goes for the term “vegetable-tanned leather”, the material is made from vegetable fibres (and not animal fibres) such as pineapple stems, algae or mushrooms. Nothing links these two terms to the definition of the word “leather”: all these products, regardless of quality and aesthetic, wrongly use the term “leather”.

The word “leather” is associated, as a collective idea, to the words “luxury”, “quality”, “durability” and even “ancestral” which can explain the drive to create derived products.

In the precise case of crocodile leather, when it comes to verifying its authenticity, we can rely on its visual aspect and the leather’s depth: an obvious difference in colour between a scale and the space between scales is a way of proving the crocodile leather’s authenticity. When buying crocodile leather, an easier way of recognizing authenticity is the symmetry in the scales. If a pattern seems too regular, it is most likely to be “synthetic leather” rather than natural. If you look at the front and back of the bag and notice the same geometry in the scales on both side, it is most definitely synthetic. On top of this, synthetic materials tend to look and feel plastic, almost like a waxed table-cloth. 

What is a high-quality leather?

A very high-quality leather is full grain leather on which an aniline finish has been applied (translucent, non-covering). Aniline calf leather, such as the “Box Calf” finish from Tanneries du Puy requires a hide exempt of physical defaults like scars. The conditions of breeding are therefore very important in order to insure a good-quality leather.

A calf leather grain can be obtained by applying a pattern using a press. This allows us to print an original visual pattern and somewhat cover small improprieties which have made the leather ineligible for a pattern-less finish.

For crocodile leather, three elements are observed in order to prove the quality of the leather and therefore its worth: the relief of the scales, its flexibility and the perfect regularity of thickness required for the product. For crocodile leather to be considered high-quality, it must also be subject to good tanning. The quality of leather cannot be based solely on its core resistance. Crocodile leather must also be resistant to light, rubbing, … If the tanning procedure is badly carried out, it won’t be and could be torn during a bag’s confection. The tanning of the leather is an essential stage as it improves the leather quality.

It goes as no surprise that leading luxury brands prefer to buy leather of high quality, coming from a single hide for the making of their products.

The hide’s finishes will be decided depending on the quality of the hide. For a tanner, the sorting of the hides is a crucial step, this will define the tanner’s reputation among clients.

Since 1946, Tanneries du Puy has built an exceptional expertise of calf leather and pass on their manual craftsmanship from generation to generation.

Find your leather!

A large selection of articles destined for professionals or individuals is available on our website. Calf, crocodile, goat, python, ostrich…wait no longer and discover all our leather available for sale.

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