We love bragging about the leather we use in our belts. Sometimes, we forget that members of the general population are not huge leather nerds like ourselves. So, when we talk about our use of vegetable tanned leather, we often get some quizzical looks.
Vegetable tanning is a process in which skins are turned into leather using natural extracts, such as tree bark (oak and birch, for example). It can take up to two months to complete, and few tanneries in the world are able to produce it.
Luscious, am I right? Snapped this pic of our Chestnut coloured hide before Tina cut it into belt strips.
Only ten percent of the leather in the world is vegetable tanned, the remainder is treated using chrome tanning. This is a much shorter process, as little time as one day. While more efficient, chrome tanning uses (you guessed it!) chemicals and acids.
This is the pared down, simplified explanation, but the most important part for us is that vegetable tanned leather is much more durable (it can last several lifetimes), and is fully biodegradable. So, when your Italian Wrangler belt finally falls apart in 150 years, your great-great-great-great-great-(?)-grandchild can simply throw the strap in the compost. We like this way of thinking, (even though our bank account doesn't like how much our hides cost, tee hee).
Veggie tanned hides are quite thick in comparison to chrome tanned ones, so they make perfect, sturdy belts. They carry the natural, rich colours of the tannins that were used on them, and have a sweet, earthy fragrance. They do, however, acquire a patina after awhile. This means that they will wear aesthetically. Small scratches can be buffed out, but in general, they will get that gorgeous, vintage look after awhile.
Want to know more? Tina loves talking about leather even more than I do. You can email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org