QUALITY OF LEATHER
How can one designer produce a duffel bag for £100 where as another produces one for £1,000?
How can you tell the difference in quality between these bags?
Which one is best value for money?
Which one will survive the test of time?
There are so many things to consider when choosing a leather bag, this post is a brief overview of leather, the different qualities and how to identify the best value bag.
We could be cheeky and tell you there is no need to read this post, you are already at the right place if you want a luxury, high quality bag at the best value possible…. But we won’t, we will give you all the information you need to make the best choice for you.
GENUINE vs FAKE LEATHER
We believe there is no substitute for genuine leather. Although many PU alternatives can be well designed they are miles apart in terms of quality. A well made genuine leather bag will get better with time whereas a PU leather bag will crack.
Today most leather is made from that of cattle, its versatility lends it to a variety of uses and dependent on how it is processed and tanned it can take many forms. Other options do exist, sheep leather is soft, flexible and lightweight, making it suited to jackets and coats. Deer and elkskin are very durable, they can resist moisture and even when very wet dry back in to shape. These leathers are used mostly for gloves and indoor shoes. There are the exotic skins, such as that of alligator, snake and lizard, these leathers have elaborate patterns and are popular materials for use in belts, wallets and other accessories.
At Kurtis Paul we use cowhide (cattle), this leather is high quality and the best choice when buying a bag. Cowhide is durable and has a luxurious appeal.
We have a full post about different leather cuts so we will keep it brief here.
Leather hide can we separated into three sections:
Full Grain: this is the top layer, the part of the animal which is most exposed the elements. It is highly breathable but is also susceptible to imperfections (cuts and scars on the animals skin).
Top Grain: top grain is durable, strong and has a higher stain resistance.
Genuine Leather: this layer is the softest, it has a comfortable feel, a material of closer resemblance to that of cloth. Genuine leather is regularly referred to as suede and is frequently used as a lining.
At Kurtis Paul we use a only the best leathers, either high quality top or full grain.
DYING AND LEATHER FINISH
All leather is cured (tanned), this is the process of converting animal hide to leather, following tanning dyes are applied to give the leather is finish, colour and effect. These dyes are expensive and add precious time to the manufacturing process.
Good quality leather manufacturers give the dye the time is needs and allow leather to be dyed right through. cheaper manufacturers cheat by only dying the outer layer of leather. The difference is difficult to spot on first glance but leather which has been dyed completely will age much better with cheaper leather cracking and flaking.
At Kurtis Paul our leather is fully dyed, we give our leather the time and attention it deserves, ensuring the products we produce are of the highest quality.
LINING AND FINISHES
The first place a manufacturer will reduce costs is on the hardware. Check the buckles, zips, handles and lining. If these are made cheaply they will quickly break and render your precious bag useless.
Zippers are the most used part of any bag, check these are of sufficient size to cope with the strain of the bag. Make sure they look in proportion with the rest of the bag.
Buckles, rivets and other hardware should be made of a sturdy metal. In a majority of cases brass is a good material.
Stress points should be reinforced with extra stitching used if necessary. Bags are regularly overloaded and you want to ensure you investment will not lose shape.
Check the lining is well made, well stitched and pockets are strong enough. Linings protect your bag from the content of your bags, you want to make sure this will give the protection when needed.
Our website has good quality photos of all our bags, allowing you to inspect the high quality build of our bags.