The finest quality leathergoods start with the finest genuine leather
Leathercraft is an industry that can often lie quietly under the modern-day radar. Between the way of the Italians, the methods in Spain and the potential in Britain, there’s a lot more to know about leather.
Here at Mackenzie Leather Edinburgh, we currently use four different types of leather to craft our core collections of handmade goods. If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between an Italian Saddle and Soft Hides, a Spanish Soft Shiny Hide and a British Oak Bark Hide, then wonder no more.
All different, yet equally best in quality.
Our Italian Leather
What Makes Italian Leather Superior?
High-end fashion owes a lot to Italian leather. Leather from Italy – or more specifically from the Tuscan region situated between Pisa and Florence – is so highly valued due to its impeccable quality, and the expert craftsmanship that has been passed down through the generations. It is for these reasons that, at Mackenzie Leather, we primarily use Italian Tuscan leather for our products.
Pelle Conciata al Vegetale in Toscana
Vegetable-tanned genuine leather absorbs the traces of our life, and it matures without ruining. The natural ageing does not compromise its resistance. It reveals the signs of time and use as the most personal expression of naturalness and truth.
No Italian leather looks like any other. Its peculiar characteristics offer a wide range of possible interpretations in shape and design. Designers can find a material capable of adding value to a project of fashion, and consumers can find a product overcoming fashion and trends, which gains value with the passing of time.
Choosing a product made of Tuscan, vegetable-tanned leather means choosing a one-of-a-kind object that reflects the owner’s lifestyle.
In a Corner of Tuscany (Italy)
It is in the heart of the incomparable beauty of the Tuscan landscapes, between Pisa and Florence, that the noble art of vegetable tanning is kept alive. A handcraft tradition, as precious as it is ancient, vegetable tanning today represents a fundamental heritage of art and handcraft for Tuscany. Vegetable tanning, known since the Palaeolithic era, is a long and articulated process based on ancient recipes and knowledge, handed down from father to son until today.
Our Spanish Leather
In an Ancient Part of Northern Spain
A family of tanners follow a tradition dating back four generations. Working with full shoulder skins they maintain a legacy that seems timeless. In keeping with this traditional method of tanning, all the skins are vegetable-tanned and finished with oils, thus obtaining a result that speaks for itself.
Our Vegetable-Tanned Leather Selection
Our Soft Hide is made from Italian and Spanish vegetable-tanned leather. It ranges from 1.6 to 2 mm in thickness, making it a lighter and more pliable leather.
Our Saddle Hide is made from Italian vegetable-tanned leather. It ranges from 3.5 to 4 mm in thickness, making it a sturdy and robust leather.
All our hides are free of heavy metals as well as of any substance that could be harmful for the human skill.
“The hands of master tanners have worked for more than two hundred years to offer a unique and timeless leather.
It’s a slow transformation, taking up to forty days; a prodigious process combining the use of tannins, new technologies and the passing of time.”
Our British Leather
This collection has been in the works at Mackenzie for some time. Fuelled by a desire to source quality hide from local suppliers, the journey to today has been filled with trying, testing, patterning and yes, more sampling in order to bring you our exclusive Mackenzie range in an exceptional standard of leather – British Oak Bark hide.
British Oak Bark Hides
The use of Oak bark during the tanning process gives the leather an unmatched quality, durability and finish. It takes around 14 months from start to finish to complete 1 hide, making each one extra special. There’s also a difference in the finishing – the tanner uses sheep’s fat and fish oil for stiffening the leather. Other fats commonly used in the process, such as Neat’s-foot or olive oil, actually soften the hide and give a more supple outcome. This very old method indeed keeps the Oak Bark leather incredibly dense and strong, offering incredible quality across a range of different goods.
We source our Oak Bark hide from the last oak tanner in the UK, down in Devon, England. The tannery has been in their family name for over 150 years, with the site today still standing on the remains of an ancient Roman tanning site – which explains the abundance of Oak trees in the area!
It’s a true honour to be launching our first collection sourced entirely from within the British Isles. Age-old skills in trades such as ours are at a real danger of being lost due to the current economic situation. Shopping local, sourcing sustainably and supporting small business is more important today than ever before. We hope to represent a glimpse of the unique craftsmanship the UK has to offer, celebrating distinguished techniques in our contemporary moment in history.