"Ageing is just another word for living." Cindy Joseph
Nothing lasts forever, but leather is one thing that can last for many years. There aren’t many things in this world that get better with age, particularly in today’s climate of fast fashion, high turnover and the need for constant change. However, like a fine wine, a mature cheese or a magnificent tree, leather is well known for its beautiful ageing qualities. A good quality leather bag made in the right materials and constructed in the right way can last you as long as it is maintained and cared for, and will see you through many adventures.
"Wrinkles will only go where smiles have been." Jimmy Buffet
We all know that our skin shows signs of ageing as time goes on, in the human world this has evolved to be something that is undesirable and many people will go to extreme lengths to prevent the process. However in the land of leather ageing is considered beautiful, and we celebrate it! A well-worn old holdall with a handsome patina will instantly evoke feelings of nostalgia and reminiscence for its owner and if proper care is taken to maintain the leather then your beloved leather holdall can last you almost a lifetime.
“Like a human’s, cow skin warps and wears to tell the story of that which inhabits it. Good leather [will] crinkle and mould along the joints and around the seams, becoming suppler and better fitting as they are broken in” Fashion Beans
Exactly how long your leather bag will last depends on a few things; how often you use it, how well you care for the skin and what environment it is exposed to. A leather skin can last 100 years before it starts to break down and, let’s be honest, most people won’t be using their bag for a century, but if you preserve your leather bag with the right treatments then it can travel around the world with you for upwards of 30 years.
“My favorite leather jacket I got for 40 bucks at the Fairfax Flea Market, like, eight years ago. Leather just gets better over time. There's something about a jacket that you have over years and years - just fits like a glove” Jack Falahee
Of course your bag should be used as often as you want without worrying about how it will affect the condition, that is the function of a holdall after all. So looking after it properly will help to prolong the years you can use it. Don’t forget that, like our skin, your bag is an organic matter that needs a skin care routine. Maybe not as often as twice a day but it is important not to let your leather dry out as it will crack and weaken. A proper treatment every six months with a leather oil or wax will do the trick, and if you use your bag often then this can be anything up to every month. It is important not to over-treat your bag though, so keep an eye on it and if it’s looking a little thirsty then give it some oil.
"It's not how old you are. It's how you are old." - Jules Renard
If you really want to keep you bag looking its finest then it is best to stuff it for storage to retain its original shape. If you use your bag regularly then this may not be practical so pop it in a dust bag and lay it flat. Hanging a bag can make it misshape so try to resist draping it on the back of your door and keep it horizontal on a shelf. Drastic temperature changes, dampness and humidity are not a friend to leather so try to keep it in a reasonably controlled environment if you can. And most importantly remember to love your bag as much as you love your adventures.