SHOP | Vegetable Tanned leather - Before and After

by Grace Gordon May 07, 2017

BEFORE & AFTER - Our Ellie Tote at 1week and 6 months old with weekly wear & using intentional ageing techniques. 

BEFORE & AFTER - Our Emma Backpack at 1 week (LEFT) and after 6 months light wear. (RIGHT) 

 All of our goods are made with fine Italian Vegetable Tanned Leather. I've had lots of questions from our customers over the years about what to expect from our leather so thought I'd write a post to tell you a little more about it. 

I started working with leather because it has such incredible characteristics and, as a result, a fanbase all of it's own. I'd become so used to heavily engineered leather and plastic coated imitations that when I came across a bag made from raw, natural leather it opened my eyes to what I was missing out on. I immediately fell in love. 

To give you a quick overview of our leather and how it ages it's probably easiest for me to explain a little more by breaking it down into the 5 points you need to know: 


Leather is a material made from the skin of an animal by tanning or a similar process. Ours is vegetable tanned meaning we use tannins which occur naturally in the bark and leaves of plants to soak the leathers and leave them suitable for use in crafting products. 


Vegetable tannins don't contain synthetic coatings which cover the leather. The hide is effectively naked and so will age and darken with the sun just like your own skin. All colours will do this but it'll be much more noticeable in lighter/nude shades such as in our Ellie & Emma bags above. 


Our leather is bovine meaning it's cow hide. We source our hides from an old Italian Tannery with an incredible history and world-renowned reputation for quality. Vegetable tanned leather doesn't have a protected designation of origin so is made all over the world.


The first thing to know is that you can't and shouldn't try to prevent the ageing process of vegetable tanned leather. It's ability to age is a mark of quality (a bit like a pair of raw selvedge jeans vs. denim jeggings). We do coat all of our bags with a protective conditioner before they leave us so that'll help keep it nourished and supple for the first 6months or so. Take a look at our LEATHER CARE page for more info. 


Your bag will be unique right from the off. As mentioned above our hides are completely natural so each one will be different. Just think of it like your own skin! There are scratches, stretch marks, blemishes and uneven colour patches in every vegtan piece. With regards to darkening that's *sort of* up to you. The more you use the piece, the faster it'll darken. The sun will quicken this up, as will rubbing in a leather conditioner or balm. High use areas, such as where your finger tips clutch a handle strap, will also tend to darken quickly because of the natural oils in your hands. Take a look at our HOW TO CARE FOR A LEATHER BAG - 5 TIPS post for more info.  

I hope that's given you a better understanding of our leather and what to expect over time. The best thing about it is that every single one will be different so if you have one of our bags which is ageing beautifully be sure to post it online and tag us with the handle @gracegordonLDN!

If you do have any more questions about our bags, leather or the information above please don't hesitate to get in touch HERE. 

Grace x

Grace Gordon
Grace Gordon


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