Sourcing vegetable tanned lamb leather in India
All the leathers we use for our bags and leather products made in our Indian workshop are sourced from local tanneries in India, meaning that the leather originates from nearby regions of the workshop making the bags. We only accept leathers from LWG certified tanneries. LWG is short for 'Leather Working Group.' This certification means that the tanneries are bound to follow strict environmental compliances given by The Leather Working Group (LWG).
Leather Working Group certified tanneries are committed to improving environmental stewardship within the leather manufacturing industry.
This includes improving the Leather supply chain, traceability, chemical management, water consumption, pollution, etc.
Every leather has its own unique story to tell and can be typically be traced back to the slaughterhouses and sometimes all the way back to the farms. The leathers sourced from India can trace back to the slaughterhouses originating from the Indian region Rajasthan. This is close to New Delhi, where the tannery and the workshop are located. Using locally sourced leather minimizes the co2 emission and supports the local economy.
We know that the leathers from this region will typically come from local farmers dependent on the sheep as livestock, not a factory farm with the purpose of breading meat or hides. Sheep farming is an integral household tradition of farmers, and it is essential for the social economy in this region.
We work with vegetable-tanned leather from a conscious choice of avoiding the use of toxic chemicals, such as chromium and acids. But what is vegetable-tanned leather?
Vegetable-tanned leather Vegetable-tanned refers to the method used in the tanning process, which turns raw skins into usable leather. It is called 'vegetable' because of the natural extracts used in the tanning process, such as chestnuts, bark, and other natural tannin-containing ingredients. It is the tannins that do the trick because these easily bind to the proteins.
The magic happens when the tannins penetrate the cells and replacing themselves with the liquid in the skin. The water would have dehydrated the skin. Instead, the tannins give the leather its flexibility.
Like all natural materials that deserve a moment to be sensed properly, leather is no exception. So what gives the leather its unique scent, and what does 'real' leather smells like? These are classic questions and comments I hear people state when talking about leather. To answer this, we'll have to take a quick step back to how it is tanned...
The short answer: Vegetable-tanned leather gets its unique scent of earthy tones from the natural ingredients, while chromium tanned leather gets its scent from chemical 'tannins'. The tannins are the critical factor in this process, whether they are natural or chemical. Today there is also various options of vegetable, chrome-free or synthetic tanning methods.
But keep in mind that talking about vegetable-tanned leather involves many nuances and depends entirely on the different tanneries vegetable tannin blends and processes. Another important note is that using vegetable-tanned leather does not automatically mean that it is biodegradable. A common mistake you will often meet. However, you will have the benefits of leather that have been tanned without harmful chemicals, which is better for your skin and the environment.
A lot of talk about tannins, but what exactly are tannins? Well, Tannins are a natural molecule that you most likely have heard about when talking about wine. It is the tannins that cause the dry feeling in your mouth when you drink wine. The tannins in wine come from the grapes' skin, just as the tannins for tanned leather come from the bark of trees, chestnuts etc.