Leather: Quality vs Sustainability

At BED|STÜ we not only care about the quality of our product, but also in the manner it was created. When choosing our leathers, their impact on the environment is always on our mind and influences our selections.
We always opt for free-range leather when possible. While free-range leather tends to have bumps, marks, scratches, and all of its other natural imperfections, we embrace these as signatures of authenticity. Many companies will shy away from this type of leather, but not us. We believe in using all available leather, and unnecessary waste is not acceptable.
Once the hides are selected, they moves into the tanning phase. Tanning is the process of preserving and converting the rawhide into what is commonly known as leather. There are essentially two ways to do this:

  1. Chrome Tanning – Chrome tanning uses real chromium and other environmentally harmful chemicals as the key ingredients for this process
  2. Vegetable Tanning – Vegetable tanning uses all natural and environmentally safe products. Organic matter primarily from tree bark is the key ingredient. The vast majority of the tree tannins originate in the U.S., Europe, and South America.
    While Vegetable tanning may be more expensive, we think the investment is well worth it, and always insist on its use. The end product from the tanning process is known as “crust”

The next step in the process is finishing. This is where the tanned leather crust is given its color, texture, and characteristics. Typically the entire finishing phase is done by the tanneries, in a very mechanical process. We don’t like it. We prefer to work with the unfinished crusts, and apply the finish by hand. We always use natural dyes and materials in our hand crafted finishing process.

The BED l STU team strives to make some contribution, even if small, and as we grow, we aim to develop new ways to uphold a standard of sustainability.

 

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