The Vintage Child Oxley Leather Weekend Bag; leather explained

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The Vintage Child Oxley Leather Weekend Bag was our first ever design

Based on a beloved old vintage holdall. It has always been important that our bags are made in the best quality full grain leather from reputable sources. As everyone knows, there are many types of leather; vegan leather, PU leather, patent leather, top grain leather, split leather, bonded leather, and of course full grain leather which is the best quality and the most luxurious and durable type of leather you will find.

There are, of course, arguments for buying “vegan” or PU leather, it is certainly more affordable, but these materials aren’t really leather at all. They are synthetic replicas that don’t tend to last very long and will soon need to be replaced. It is also most often made from plastic which is a non porous material and will not breathe; making for uncomfortable wearing if it is close to your skin. One of the huge advantages of real leather is that it is an extremely hard wearing material that will basically never wear out, so if you buy a Vintage Child Oxley Leather Weekend Bag you shouldn’t ever have to buy another. In fact leather is known for its beautiful aging qualities, developing a patina that tells stories of its travels. So it’s win win!

But how can you test that your Vintage Child Oxley Leather Weekend Bag is real leather? Leather comes in basically endless textures, colours and finishes, so as there are so many possibilities it can be tricky to know the difference between a real and a fake. All our leather is bovine, which means it comes from a cow or buffalo, but there are other options such as goats, sheep, pigs, even camels. Generally speaking bovine is the best option as it has fine pores, it’s thick and it has the smoothest finish. However sometimes other animal skins are ok if an item isn’t likely to come under as much wear and tear, if the skin is being used for suede (the underside of leather), or if you are looking for a more affordable real leather alternative.

There are many misconceptions about leather and how to identify it. It is often tricky to tell if a bag is made from real or fake leather just by looking at it, especially from a distance, because real leather can come in so many forms so this is hardly ever a good indication. All our bags have a genuine leather hang tag, and all our bags are made from genuine full grain leather, so this is a great place to start. Unless someone is really trying to fool you it is unlikely a bag will have a leather tag if it is not leather, and if it says anything about synthetic or manmade materials then it will be imitation leather.

When examining a leather bag for authenticity remember that leather is a natural product so it will most often show signs as such. If the bag has raw edges you can also take a closer look there as real leather will have a rougher finish showing the strands of the skin that often fray. As mentioned before leather has pores, even the finest cow leather, so get in really close and see if there are tiny, inconsistently placed dots like you would see on your own skin. Speaking of flaws you can also look out for other imperfections such as subtle scarring, scratches, wrinkles and creases that may appear on the surface. These characteristics not only show that the leather is real it also makes your piece totally special and unique. Of course a classic go-to is the smell test which is so distinctive to leather. We are often told The Vintage Child Oxley Leather Weekend Bag, along with all our items, have a rich leathery smell that you just won’t get from synthetics.

If all else fails then the litmus test for real vs fake leather is the burn test. We do not recommend trying this on a beloved bag you may suspect is synthetic, as it will ruin it. Genuine leather has a high resistance to fire and, if put over a gentle flame, will char slightly over time. Synthetic leather is made of plastic, and we all know what happens when plastic comes into contact with fire – it melts! So a small amount of heat will shrivel a fake leather bag whereas a real leather bag will not be damaged.

bag design full grain genuine holdall leather natural oxley real vintage child weekend

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