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What is leather?

Hi my dear muses,

I am the founder and the designer of the customizable leather goods brand ALIS MITA and I am delighted to be with you in this first episode of "Pleine Fleur" where we will discover together what leather really is.

The question I am most often asked about the ALIS MITA products is: is this leather? Yes, it is leather, but still...

We all have a vague idea of what leather is, but sometimes we have a little trouble defining it.

The leather is the result of the transformation of putrescible animal skins into a stable material. This transformation process is very long and can take from a few weeks to more than a year. It includes several steps whose names you do not have much interest in remembering unless you want to shine in society or refine your general culture.

Many of you must be in one of these two cases. So, I am going to tell you how a skin is transformed into leather.

First, the raw hides are stored and salted with coarse salt to remove the water from the tissues and prevent putrefaction. This is called the salting which lasts several days.

After the salting, we have the beamhouse operations consisting of several stages where the hairs of the skin are removed, the skin is cleaned, it is rehydrated after having been dried with salt, and it is softened. Why are those transformations called beamhouse operations? Because formerly they were realized near the rivers...

After the salting and the beamhouse operations, we arrive at the famous tanning process known by all the leather lovers. The skin is soaked with substances called tannins which will stabilize it and prevent it from getting moldy. The tannins can be vegetable - based on plants or tree barks - or mineral, most often chromium based. In the past, oil or smoke tanning was also used, but this is no longer the case today.

The last two steps are the dressing and the finishing where the tanneries work on the coloring, the thickness, and finally the suppleness of the leather.

As you can see, it takes time and know-how to produce leather and to give a skin those mechanical, chemical, and aesthetic qualities that even today remain unmatched by synthetic materials.

Leather is a material that has stood the test of time: remains of leather over 5000 years old have been discovered in the Alps, Mesopotamia, and Egypt where the skins were used as clothing and as a writing material.

Leather is also one of the most eco-responsible natural materials: man has chosen to ennoble a material that would otherwise become a waste quite difficult to recycle. Thus, this natural material is sustainably reintroduced into the consumption circuit.

There you go, now you know a little more about this beautiful material that is leather. I hope you liked this first episode; like, comment and share it with your friends.

Talk to you soon!

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