The increasing use of environmental friendly raw material has made the designing fashion world take notice. Clientele are becoming more and more savvy concerning the environmental impact of certain types of raw material such as nappa leather. The advantages of using an alternative such as eco pelle also known as bonded or recycled leather are numerous, ranging from recycling waste products to cutting production and costs. This new consciousness has pushed designers into relying on eco pelle aka bonded leather, when sketching their newest handbag models and the reasons go far beyond customer satisfaction to include, product consistency, durability and a wide selection of leather effects make bonded or recycled leather a quality option to genuine leather.
It is a common question when visiting the only leather factory in Tuscany Italy that offers tours showing Italian craftsman and women cutting and assembling handbags: what do the tanneries and leather jacket producers do with all those scraps of leather? In the instances where the pieces are large enough to be utilized for smaller items such as leather wallets, key chains these pieces are gathered and re-cut. There is also the popular Fortunata Tote Bag which uses the remnants from other patterns which are a little larger and fit to create these one of a kind designer handbags. However, in the case where the pieces are too small, then these fibers and scraps are gathered together and reduced to a fibrous powder. This by-product then becomes the base of a man made equivalent to genuine leather sometimes called composition or bonded leather. This option utilizes what is called “wet blue” or leather off cuts direct from the tanneries and the scraps from the pattern cuttings which are destined to be thrown into landfill.
Cost is always a determining factor when analyzing production costs. The reduced cost of “eco pelle,” as the Italians would call it, is determined not only by the actual cost of the raw material but also in how well it covers the needs of the bag. Since composition or bonded leather can be made with consistent color and size, this allows for a better use of the leather. Animal hides will often have markings such as healed scars, growth marks, grain variations and color variations not to mention the varying thickness and odd shapes. Designers like Braccialini, who use intricate designs and require much manual labor, find that this type of synthetic leather is a perfect solution containing the price. This type of savings has positive results not only for the producer but translates into savings for the consumer as well.
Commonly used for items that take quite a beating by the consumer like upholstery for furniture, cars, trains and book covers because it is prized for its longevity durability! It is these very reasons that fashion designers are considering a recycled leather for handbags, shoes and belts. When top Italian fashion designers like Francesco Biasia offer a new model they need to know that there is a price quality combination will protect their reputation and entice more shoppers.
Another important factor in using this faux leather is that it is virtually stain-proof. In fact, in many cases you can just wipe it down with no worries. In addition, recycled leather weighs less than genuine leather. This is an important consideration when considering fuel consumption on transport vehicles, a genuine leather upholstered train seat will weigh more than a recycled leather thus requiring more fuel for transport. Or a multi use tote bag is much lighter to lug around than a Campomaggi washed leather tote bag.
Though these factors are important, it is clear that in the fashion world this type of leather is distinguished due to its versatility. A designer can truly let their imagination create colorful fashion wonders such as pink faux python or a striped faux crocodile? Designers are in heaven when it comes to personalizing their handbag, shoe or belt collection with the ample selection of leather effects and the diversity of the colors. Fashion is always looking to push designers to the cutting edge, looking for practicality as well as beauty.
In a society that is becoming evermore conscious of how the raw materials are acquired, it is obvious that more and more environmental friendly alternatives will be made available. The rewards of producing recycled leather coupled with the characteristics of a stronger material, easier to clean and more versatile in its appearance has made this a viable alternative to genuine leather.