Leather is leather, right?
“What is veg tanned leather and why do you use it for all of your products at Virtutis?’’ Well…. The term Vegetable tanned leather refers to the process in which the raw animal skin is turned into leather, the tanning process effectivity preserves the raw skin from decay.
The tanning of vegetable tanned leather is a very manual process, that requires the skill of an experienced craftsman. Dating back thousands of years and in extensive use by early Greeks and Romans, the process involves submerging the raw animal skin within a special tannin solution which only contains natural ingredients such as tree bark from the mimosa and quebracho tree. Taking at least 4 weeks to produce this kind of leather, the skins are moved between large pits, with each pit becoming more concentrated with the natural tannin as the process moves on.
Using these natural ingredients to tan the leather is what makes vegetable tanned so distinctive. The result is rich, warm colours and the most stunningly fruity nostalgic scent. Another huge benefit is that it will develop a patina and actually look and feel better with age, slowly adding character with use.
Over 85% of the leather products sold world wide are not tanned this way, due to the manual work required from a skilled craftsman and the time taken to tan. They are tanned using an automated process which involves the mineral chromium and the use of acidic salts which, if not regulated correctly, can be devastating for the environment. Chome tanning is a lot faster, and skins can be finished within a day and although the price you pay may be cheaper, you lose the beautiful natural leather scent, it doesn’t age well and is not biodegrade so cannot be recycled.
When I started on this journey I had a dream of using the most premium natural materials possible, whilst respecting the traditions and crafts of our ancestors. Its with this in mind that I fell in love with not only the art of vegetable tanning but the abundance of benefits this unique leather offers.
Vegetable tanned leather is for the purist, the perfectionist, the traditionalist.