Hi my dear Muses,
I am the designer of the customizable leather goods brand ALIS MITA, and I am pleased to meet up with you again in this new episode of Plein Fleur.
Today, we will discover together the different types of leather that I have chosen to call classic leathers.
If you see the mention “classic leathers” on our website, we are indeed talking about the most used leathers in leather goods: bovine leather, goat leather, lamb or sheep leather and pig leather. These animals are all raised for their meat or milk and the skin is a residue that is worked by man to make leather.
The barnyard is indeed quite crowded, and it is not always easy to differentiate the different types of leather. So, let’s learn together some tricks to recognize them according to their appearance and use.
The largest category of leather in the world today is bovine leather, which includes calf, cow, cow, taurillon and buffalo leather. To avoid overwhelming you with too much information, in this episode we will talk exclusively about these leathers.
First of all, what is the difference between calfskin, cowhide and taurillon leather?
Calfskin comes from cattle that are 6 to 8 months old; cowhide comes from young cows; taurillon leather comes from cattle that are one to two years old. Cowhide comes from animals that are older.
You will say to me: why do we make this unfair classification according to the age of the animals? In fact, it is not so unfair because the age of the animal determines the quality of the skin… There are mainly two factors that come into play. The first is that the younger the animal, the better the skin quality because it has suffered less damage, scratches, parasites…
And there is a second factor that is just as intuitive but more scientific: leather from a young animal is more resistant and more flexible. Why? Because the mechanical properties of leather depend on collagen fibers and therefore on the maturity of the animals. Yes, they have the same worries as us…
If we compare two leathers with the same thickness, a calf leather will normally have a better resistance and a better extensibility than a cow leather.
All in all, regardless of the age of the animal, calf leather, cow leather or taurillon leather is globally recognized for its strength and resistance; it is widely used in leather goods, footwear, clothing and furniture.
These leathers can be more or less firm depending on the tanning and working of each hide, made according to the desired use. A leather used in furniture, for example for sofas, will necessarily be soft and resistant to rubbing and tearing. A leather used for bags will be soft or firm depending on the structure and shape you want to give the bag.
Calfskin, cowhide or taurillon leather can have a smooth or grained appearance, with a more or less pronounced grain or with a grain printed on the skin. Depending on the size of a whole leather, you can more or less tell whether it is calf or taurillon leather. On the other hand, by seeing a piece of leather, it is not possible to know the exact origin.
The reversible beige-brown belt MUSE OF THE IMPOSSIBLE,
a beautiful illustration of our full grain leathers
Brown cow leather
Black bull leather
For buffalo leather, I would say it’s a little different. This leather is also very resistant, more robust than other bovine leathers. It has a more veined appearance with a natural grain that is less uniform and less structured. It is often used in furniture, footwear or travel goods.
OPRAH Timeless tote bag in grained bull leather
If there is one thing to remember, it is that you must beware of the beliefs that we hear far too often that leather from the skin of a young or small animal – for example, calf leather – would be softer or finer than buffalo leather. This is not true!
What makes a leather soft or firm or thin or thick is the know-how of the tanneries and the work they do to obtain leathers that are remarkable when the raw materials, the skins are of excellent quality.
To give you an idea of how we use these leathers, for the ALIS MITA products, we use cowhide and taurillon leather. The beige and brown belt leathers are smooth cowhide. The black leather is a smooth taurillon leather with an aniline finish. But you can also have grained taurillon leather like on the Oprah Timeless tote or the Oprah Evolutionary tote.
OPRAH Evolutionary tote bag in grained bull leather
As I said earlier, in this episode, I chose to talk only about bovine leathers. For the rest of the leathers, I’ll see you in the next episode.
Like, share, comment and ask me questions if you have any.
See you soon!