MATERIAL INFORMATION - BAGS
Our cord is 100% genuine leather cord cut from the centre of the hide. The cord is either undyed or dyed black with natural dye. We then treat the cord with Skidmore’s leather cream to further protect and strengthen the cord and spray it with leather protector to avoid water damage and as a stain preventative.
The cord is sourced from the US and is of the highest quality and strength. We have chosen our source for its quality, the use of natural dyes and the uncoated nature of the cord. This manufacturer also does not split and glue cord to create a continuous piece, so weak, breakable parts in the cord are avoided. The cord is therefore strong, durable and long lasting.
Our leather is full grain, vegetable tanned, kangaroo leather from Australia.
What is full grain leather and why do we use it?
Full grain leather is the highest quality, most expensive grade of leather. It comes from the top layer of the hide and includes all of the natural grain. The natural surface of full grain leather is unique - it tells a story and reveals natural imperfections, marks, and even light brands in the surface. Full grain leather is extremely strong and durable, as the natural grain contains the strongest fibres in the hide. While strong and durable, full grain leather remains extremely breathable, resulting in less moisture retention from prolonged contact.
As full grain leather ages, rather than wearing out, it burnishes and beautifies, developing a much sought-after patina and unique character that cannot be easily duplicated. Truly, the more you use it, the better it looks and feels.
We have chosen to use top grain leather to provide you with a leather that can last a lifetime and look good doing it.
Why have we chosen to use kangaroo leather?
For its thickness and weight, kangaroo leather is the strongest and lightest natural leather available. Kangaroo hide has a unique fibre structure that runs parallel to the leather surface to provide exceptional rope-like strength. With its strength close to the leather surface kangaroo is a naturally thin and light leather that can be up to three times stronger than bovine, cabretta and goat at a similar thickness.
A thin leather is a lighter, softer, more comfortable, form fitting leather. Kangaroo leather provides abrasion resistance, sweat resistance, superior tensile strength, excellent stitch-tear strength and a soft feel .
How is kangaroo leather sustainably sourced?
Kangaroos are one of the most numerous large wild land mammals on earth. Outside of seasonal fluctuations, the kangaroo population has been steadily increasing over the past 25 years. The commercially harvested species of kangaroos are very abundant and their conservation status is listed by the United Nations as of ‘least concern.’
With over 35 years of monitoring data across large areas which indicate no long-term decline in state-wide populations, there is now convincing evidence that kangaroos are harvested sustainably.
The kangaroo industry takes animal welfare very seriously. Over the years it has worked closely with Australian governments to put in place tight controls and monitoring to ensure welfare outcomes are optimal. Many commentators claim that the kangaroo industry is the most animal welfare friendly way there is of producing red meat. This is because the animals are taken humanely, directly from their natural environment without interference from people. Therefore, they are under much less stress than traditionally farmed animals.
If kangaroo numbers were not controlled by a regulated harvest, their populations would excessively increase. This means many, many more would die of starvation during times of drought. Many professional ecologists consider that the commercial harvest simply replaces Aboriginal hunting and dingo predation helping to maintain a natural balance.
What is vegetable tanned leather and why do we use it?
Vegetable-tanning is the true ‘chromium-free’ method, and does not use harmful chemicals in the tanning process. It is an old-world, artisanal process that takes advantage of the tannic acids naturally found in some plant species. Tree barks, branches, leaves and even some fruits are used in different vegetable tanning techniques. The natural appearance of vegetable tanned leather before being dyed or painted, has a slightly brownish tinge over a pink-beige colour, with a natural, woody, earthy smell.
Some of the biggest advantages of vegetable tanned leather are:
- High durability and strength, being far stronger than the majority of synthetic or chemically treated materials.
- It is very long lasting and can last an entire lifetime.
- When/if it ever ceases to be used or maintained it is bio-degradable.
- It has remarkable and sought after aging qualities including the caramelization of the colour and a unique patina acquired with use.
- It puts value on a slower way of producing and promoting an eco-sustainable industry.
- It has a neutral effect on the users health.
- The colours and textures have a more natural and organic look.
- Being irregular and handmade it always has a unique and genuine aesthetic.
- In many cases the leather can be reused time and time again.
- It can only be made from the highest quality of leather from the healthiest animals.
- It is always a sub-product of the meat industry.
- It revitalises the qualities of craft in general culture and is created by craftsmen with historic and valuable knowledge.
What is chromium tanned leather and why don’t we use it?
Chrome-tanning is the most popular and controversial tanning method today. It is effective and fast (within a few days) to produce a soft and uniform leather. The raw appearance, before it is dyed and painted, is pale blue in colour and with a strong chemical smell that frequently remains in the final product. The use of chromium salts is harmful to humans and the environment being a carcinogenic, persistent and indestructible chemical. Despite being publicly recognized for these significant downsides, it is still the most used method in the fashion industry.
HEMP/SILK BLEND CHARMEUSE FABRIC
We use this fabrics for the linings of the Leda Pocket Bags. This fabric is 70% Hemp, 30% Silk Charmeuse sourced from a wholesaler in the US.
Why have we chosen to use this fabric and what are its properties?
Hemp/silk charmeuse is both strong and luxurious. The silk brings a beautiful sheen and soft feel to the fabric and the hemp brings strength and durability, as well as a low environmental footprint which is explained further below.
Hemp, sits within the same species as marijuana (Cannabis sativa) but contains little to no THC meaning it cannot be used as a drug. It is however very useful as an extremely sustainable crop grown for its fibre.
Not only does hemp grow in a variety of climates and soil types, it also grows very tightly spaced (decreasing land use) and has a fast growing rate (which leads to high yields). Also, because the crop improves soil health, farmers can grow food crops immediately after a hemp harvest without a fallow period.
Ever wonder where the nickname ‘weed’ comes from? The hemp plant grows like one, obviating the need for most pesticides (it is naturally resistant to most pests), herbicides and fungicides. It thrives on less water than most crops. Because of its resiliency, it has also been flagged as a natural way to clean up soil pollution. Using a process called phyto-remediation, hemp was used at Chernobyl to harmlessly extract toxins and pollutants from the soil and groundwater. Hemp actually absorbs CO2 while it grows through natural photosynthesis, making it carbon-negative from the get-go.
Hemp has been used as a fabrics for centuries. As a textile, hemp is durable, comes in a variety of natural colours based on how it is processed from the plant, and has a wonderful drape, comparable to linen. Plus, it needs approximately half as much land and half as much water as cotton does to thrive!
What does it mean for a fabric to be fused and why have we fused our hemp/silk linings?
Fusible is ironed on to fabric through a heat activated adhesive. Its purpose is to stiffen, thicken and make fabrics more durable. We want your bag to last as long as it can!
HEMP CANVAS FABRIC
We use this fabric as an internal reinforcement fabric for the Leda Pocket Bags which is sewn in by hand in between the outer shell and the lining. This canvas is medium density 100% hemp canvas.
Why have we added this reinforcement layer, and why hemp canvas?
We have chosen hemp canvas over traditional cotton canvas for the reasons stated above around the environmental positives of using hemp fibre. The reinforcement layer is added to further strengthen and protect the shape of the bag adding more structure to the already extremely strong kangaroo, full grain leather. This helps to avoid the bag stretching over time from being filled with awkward shaped objects such as keys.
The invisible magnetic fastenings used in the Leda Pocket Bag are sourced from China. They comprise of a flat magnetic pair each encased in a pocket enabling them to be sewn inside the lining.
Why use magnetic fastenings?
We have chosen to use magnetic fastenings as they are the most durable option. Unlike zips, they are unable to break over time and unlike traditional domes they do not create a weak point in the fabric where the dome has been attached. We have also chosen these due to how easy they make opening and closing your bag. Your items are secure without the need to fiddle around with zippers, buttons or stiff domes. They also add to the minimal aesthetic of the bag, as they are barely visible.
Each bag comes with a complementary dust bag for protection when the bag is in storage. The dust bag is made of cotton calico sourced through a New Zealand wholesaler. We try to use off-cuts for these dust bags left over from making mock ups which we do extensively when developing products. The leather cord used for the dust bags is also off-cuts from making the macramé nets for the bags. Pieces too short to use for the macramé can be used so as not to waste the leftover cord.
CARE INFORMATION - BAGS
To help your bag last as long as possible in optimal condition, please refer to the below instructions.
For the first month of actual use, avoid taking the handbag out in extremely wet weather. This should give the fibres sufficient time to become more flexible and therefore less likely to react to water. After the first month of use, any spots of water or rain are best gently wiped into the leather, rather than allowing droplets to sit on the surface.
Store the bag in a dry place within the provided dust bag. Avoid storing in direct sunlight or in damp conditions. Make sure the bag is fully dry before storing.
Be aware that our black leathers are dyed and as such for the first few wears they may transfer a small amount of colour onto clothing. This is a typical characteristic of vegetable tanned leathers.
Our natural, undyed leather products will patina over time resulting in a darker, uneven colouration. Leather fans will recognise this as the ultimate sign of quality, the process itself can be quickened but should not and cannot be avoided.
If you want to further protect your bag from water or stain damage, regularly spray your bag with an invisible leather protector spray.
Over time with use, the macramé outer net will stretch slightly. Therefore, the net on your new bag will initially appear quite short and tight. Over time however it will stretch out and loosen resulting in the optimal size for your bag. We have done this in order to make sure your bag looks good when new and also for years to come.
If you have any issues with your bag outside of normal wear and tear please let us know and we will be happy to discuss replacing your bag.
Please do not:
- Wash with water or detergent
- Dry Clean
- Iron, steam or tumble dry
- Use the leather cleaning instructions provided below.
- Take to a leather care professional if needed making sure you advise them it is vegetable tanned leather.
- Spray with a water and stain repellent if desired. Any invisible spray should be ok to use.
Vegetable tanned leather should ideally only be cleaned with natural products to preserve the natural aging process and breathability of the leather. The bag should barely ever, if at all need cleaning. If it does however, please carefully follow the cleaning instructions below.
PLEASE NOTE - The natural (nude) coloured bags will be darkened by the cleaning process. If you want to avoid this please only proceed with the first two steps of cleaning.
To clean you will need:
- One large horsehair brush, available at most quality shoe stores. We recommend horse hair over synthetic brushes as it is more gentle on the leather being less likely to scratch the surface. This brush we recommend to keep dry so it can be used for brushing dirt off of any leather without staining it. This can also be used for any leather shoes and bags you may have.
- One small horsehair dauber brush, available at most quality shoe stores.
- Natural, uncoloured leather cream. We recommend Skidmore’s Leather Cream which you can purchase at many online retailers (Amazon, Fishpond, Skidmore’s own website). Other beeswax based creams are also great. This can also be used for any leather shoes and bags you may have. Please note, it may darken lighter leathers. Do not use this cream on suede.
- Undyed cotton polishing cloth. (a scrap of white cotton or similar cloth will also work)
Please feel free to contact us if you have any issues finding any of these items and we will be happy to help you source them.
1 – Remove the outer macramé net.
2 – Use the large horsehair brush to gently remove surface dirt from both the macramé net and bag. Be extremely gentle brushing the net trying not to pull the cord too much in the process.
3 – Dip the small horsehair dauber brush in Skidmore’s Leather Cream (or equivalent) and massage into the leather using circular motions. Only a small amount of cream is needed, start with very little and build up more if needed.
4 – Wipe with the undyed cotton polishing cloth to remove excess cream.
5 – Wash your small dauber brush and your polishing cloth to keep in good condition for future use.
6 – For the lining - spot clean with water and detergent if needed being sure not to wet the leather outer.