The Biggest Myths About Authentic Leather Tote Bags Busted
Fashion experts and stylists agree that real authentic leather is always in fashion. Leather is a great material to use for classic purses and bags. With a signature classic look that never goes out of style, the strength of the material, and leather can be used as a staple all year long, real genuine leather products can’t be beat. Owning a signature classic style item such as an authentic leather tote bag is a must for any time of the year.
When it comes to adding a new signature leather piece to your wardrobe, think about functionality and longevity. A classic tote bag made with high-quality full-grain leather, which is the strongest and most durable leather available, will not only create stunning products but it will also get better with age. But even with all the known benefits of investing in a quality leather tote, there are many misconceptions out there, and myths. To clear things up, we’ve rounded up the top false beliefs about owning a leather tote bag, so you can shop with clarity, confidence and peace of mind.
Myth # 1: The More Expensive the Leather Bag, the Better the Quality
Many people tend to believe that the more you pay, the better quality, but this just isn’t true. Many designer brands mark up prices and for the same leather quality as lesser-known or local companies, but you pay for the brand name. Marketing and advertising play a large role in companies’ images, and the more they pump into being seen and noticed, the more “attractive” they may be perceived. But in actuality, most of this is an illusion because the quality has nothing to do with price. There are companies like Portland Leather Goods who create luxurious high-end totes at a fraction of the price. They focus on direct to consumer sales and eliminate the retailers so they can offer you excellent products for affordable prices. If you think you have to spend a fortune on a quality leather bag, think again. Real quality leather tote bags are created with care, where artisans focus on the details and deliver the product with pride straight to you.
Furthermore, a lot of companies and brands charge high prices on leather products since they have distributing agents as middlemen. This increases the markup and customers have to pay increased prices to make up the difference. But online brands that focus on direct to consumer sales can offer excellent quality and lower pricing on the products, which equals a major win for the buyer.
Next time you look at the price tag, think again about overspending, because the price of leather is based on a lot of different factors. The tanning process also plays into the final cost of leather. For example vegetable tanning is often more expensive than chrome-tanned leather but many times vegetable-tanned leather won’t have the same consistency or quality since the leather is very thin and it is made from the hides of goat. Look for full-grain leather products made from the finest full-grain hides.
Myth #2: Leather Is a Heavy Material
Many people avoid shopping for leather backpacks, purses or totes because they worry leather will weigh too much. No one wants to carry around an extra load, so let’s just clear this false belief up right away. Leather bags go through a process called tanning, which gives them a soft touch with light weight. Most fashionistas, influencers and celebrities actually love leather totes and backpacks because they are lightweight and can be packed with all their essential goodies. You will know genuine leather by the light feel and smooth touch. Don’t be fooled by imposters.
Myth #3: Cleaning Leather Is Difficult
A lot of people who haven’t worked with or owned leather believe that leather products are high maintenance and difficult to keep clean. But the truth is, it is a lot easier to maintain quality leather than other products. A good maintenance schedule is to use a conditioner on your leather once or twice a month: just rub a little on and remove any dirt. Unlike other fabrics, you don’t need or want to apply any kind of detergent to a leather product as it could rub off the color.
You can easily clean your leather by using plain towels or a damp cloth. If your leather products get grease on them, you can easily clean the product with baking soda or talcum powder sprinkled over the stain to absorb it. Leather is one of those materials that are flexible and easily accommodate your everyday lifestyle. It creates a classic and timeless look that will go with any outfit. If you pick a darker color such as Merlot, Deep Water, Black or Cognac, it is even easier to keep clean because darker colors don’t show as much wear and tear.
Myth #4: Leather Will Get Ruined if It Gets Wet
So many people avoid taking their leather purse or tote out in the rain out of fear of it getting ruined. But the belief that water is harmful to leather is false. Real leather has the ability to absorb water. Furthermore, the hydration of the leather is important to keep the leather well maintained for years to come. You want to keep minimal contact with water so that it does not affect the natural patina, but when leather is wet, it won’t become damaged as long as you use a cloth to dry the leather. Remember that genuine leather is a natural material, and all things natural can usually hold up to water.
Myth #5: All Leather Is Created Equal
Don’t be fooled by marketing jargon and fancy taglines. Leather companies have been playing word games for years. Some common terms you may hear are split, finished split and bonded. Always look for full-grain, top-grain and authentic leather; in essence, unless it is full-grain, you aren’t getting the best possible leather. For suede, this is slightly different, since there cannot be full-grain suede in a high quality. But for leather, always look for that quality seal of approval. Full-grain leather is the top highest quality possible.
Myth #6: The Tannery Doesn’t Really Matter
Most consumers don’t think about the tannery process. After all they just want a quality bag that looks great and functions well. But the tannery process is incredibly important. Leather, as a product, can be a difficult material to process. It uses a natural product derived from animals and has a history of pollution (as well as green sustainability). This confusion stems from the production of leather. Most people who are not aware of the tannery and the process that goes into creating the leather can get confused or overwhelmed by the behind-the-scenes process. Top-notch, credible tanneries make all the difference — even when it comes to the most natural, vegetable-tanned leathers. A good tannery like Horween, Wicket and Craig, and S. B. Foot can produce safe, top-of-the-line leathers in America.
Myth #7: Vegan or Synthetic Leather Is More Ethical
The places you purchase your leather from will make all the difference. Some ethically focused consumers will opt to avoid real genuine leather to be more vegan friendly assuming it is best for the planet. But while this may skip the animal product (which mostly uses the “waste” from the food industry), the chemicals used in the process may be just as bad for the environment. The most ethical use of leather is to do your research, look for companies that are taking a stand for local—employing local artisans, shipping to local consumers—and those that are transparent about their shipping and purchasing procedures.
Look for companies that are buying better constructed, longer lasting, timeless leather goods. This, in turn, means reducing the amount of leather goods needed over the course of one’s life. It would fit under the “reduce” part of the reduce, reuse, recycle philosophy.
Always look at where the companies purchase their materials from. Portland Leather Goods only use U.S. hides, and since American leather is a by-product of the beef industry, they like to think that they are helping to minimize waste by using hides that may otherwise be wasted. This kind of leather will never look flawless, as it hasn’t been covered in any kind of plastic coating.
Myth #8: Leather Color Fades Over Time
Don’t believe the lies about leather fading. Many faux or fake leather companies will sell you these lies to try to push their own products. In fact real authentic leather gets better with time. It is a strong material and it is processed in such a way that the colors do not fade easily. You can use leather products anywhere and they will remain the same. Leather should be cared for properly, and when it is, the colors often grow into themselves over time. If you are using leather conditioner and also regularly cleaning your leather products, then they will not become dull.
When storing your leather bag, keep it out of excessive direct sunlight. Heat can dry the leather and can cause small cracks, so it is better to store your leather bags in a dust bag. And keep them in a cool dry place. This will also maintain the rich color and material for years to come.
If you are buying a leather product, then make sure to care for it properly. Leather will last a long time and can survive for ages, and best of all it will still look new. Leather is available in different colors and each color has been made in such a way that it can handle regular wear and tear.
This article brought to you by Portland Leather Goods. We make award-winning handmade leather products in Portland, Oregon, from the finest full-grain hides, creating personalized products to showcase your personal style.