Troubadour vegetable-tanned leather is created in Italy using an entirely natural process that dates back more than a thousand years. Vegetable tanning transforms animal hides into soft, smooth, durable leather of the highest quality, with unique characteristics.
The vegetable-tanning process was the original method developed to tan leather hides. It is more natural and environmentally friendly than “chrome” tanning, a cheaper, chemically intensive alternative that uses chromium sulphates and acidic salts to tan hides. While chrome tanning produces a similar look for leather in the short term, over time only vegetable-tanned leather will develop the rich patinas, soft hand-feel and unique fragrance for which it is so prized. Unlike chrome-tanned leather, vegetable-tanned leather is exceptionally durable – with the right care, it can last longer than a lifetime.
For Troubadour bags and accessories we use cowhides from Brittany, the French region famous for producing the finest hides for leather. At tanneries in Tuscany, the hides are immersed for several weeks in a mixture of natural ingredients. These include bark powders such as quebracho from Argentina, mimosa from Australia and Brazil, and chestnut from southern Europe, as well as natural oils and water. We work with family-run tanneries such as La Bretagna and Conceria 800 that create their own unique tanning recipes – these are jealously guarded secrets!
“The philosophy behind vegetable tanning mirrors that of great olive oil or wine – the highest quality ingredients blended together to a specific set of tastes with continuous human supervision.”
– Giovanni Testi
The more you use it, the better it looks
Troubadour vegetable-tanned leather ages beautifully over time. The natural oils within the leather create a wonderful patina, strength and suppleness, not to mention an exquisite scent. Time and use enhance the beauty of the leather, without compromising on performance. Each piece acquires its own unique character and distinctive, gentle feel as it ages.
Vegetable-tanned leather pieces develop warm, nuanced colouring with the passing of time and use. The deep, rich colours of our vegetable-tanned leather are achieved by barrel-dyeing. The hide is immersed for several days in a barrel containing a colour solution which permeates the entire leather. The resulting colour is far superior to synthetic finishes, where dye is sprayed onto the surface of the leather and can be scratched off over time.
Caring for vegetable-tanned leather is simple, because its natural properties make it easy to restore the original shine. Light scratches can simply be rubbed away with a finger, and polishing the leather with a soft cloth will keep it clean as it develops a softer look and feel with age. For more details of how to keep your vegetable-tanned leather products in tip-top condition, see our Leather Care Guide.