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The School of Satchel: Leather Types

Updated: May 19, 2023

A couple of years back, we started with just our satchels. And then we decided to experiment on other leather pieces and leather options, drawing our ideas on paper, and then bringing them to life. Now we have a variety of designs and counting thanks to your unending support with our brand!

With all the leather types available, we’d like to share with you the different types we use. We put together this quick reference to help avoid confusion and help you choose the best piece to your liking.

Take Note: We only use Vegetable Tanned, Full Grain Cowhide for all our leathers, apart from the Franco Laptop Bag and Lady Bug Backpack that has an additional sheepskin lining interior, and the Weekend Bag made with a mix of Full Grain Leather and Canvas.

What is Vegetable-Tanned?

Now that you’re already familiar with Full Grain after we shared the three different grades of leather in our last 2 entries, (In case you missed it, you can check out our entry here) we’ll be discussing with you Vegetable-Tanned leather.

When you hear people say Vegetable-Tanned leather, this simply means the leather was preserved using organic materials such as oak and tree bark extracts. This leather tanning process uses the traditional way of tanning leather and is environment-friendly. It does not use toxic chemicals and is famous for developing an extraordinary patina over time showing the natural beauty of aging leather.

Natural Vegetable-Tanned Leather

Natural Vegetable-Tanned refers to leather where no dye was introduced during the tanning process. The patina is more distinct where you can become your very own artist and create a story of your time with your leather piece, like a stamp of ownership.

The Franco Collection is a perfect example of this type. It ages really well after several years of use. Don’t be terrified of getting your bag scratched or dirty. In fact, check out the patina on this Franco Messenger Bag below.

Other SOS pieces made in Natural Vegetable-Tanned Leather

Franco Laptop Bag, Franco Messenger Bag, Dylan EDC Clutch, Laptop Sleeve, Utility Case, and other Leather Accessories.

Care tips:

Natural leather easily gets stains and markings. We take pride in this type of leather as it develops a patina that much leather-enthusiasts love. Keep this type well-conditioned with any leather conditioner. Natural leather will get darker under sunlight which turns to a rich color. Keep your bags away from moisture, prevent it from getting wet, and avoid direct contact with heat. Heat causes the leather to dry out and crack.

Oil-Finished Vegetable-Tanned Leather

This type of vegetable-tanned leather is the type where color is already introduced during the tanning process. Our local leather craftsmen use oil-based dyes and wax, which makes the leather appear thicker, harder, and have a waxy characteristic. The waxes and oil help prevent liquid and dust from penetrating the fibers. This keeps the leather lasting longer and looking good. While this may still get light scratches, rubbing with fingers or a bit of conditioner can clean it up right away.

Our Satchel Collection falls into this type: Morgan Satchel, Lukas Satchel, Emma Satchel, Gavin Holster Bag, and Anya Satchel. Other pieces include the Taylor Tote Bag, Bianca Round Bag, Nicole Wallet, and Key Holders.

Care Tips:

Oil-finished Vegetable Tanned does not require too much conditioning. But conditioning is also a good option to restore the uniform look of your leather bag. They can withstand moisture and resist light water. Avoid getting your bag soaked, as you would with any leather piece.

Hand-Dyed Vegetable-Tanned Leather

Our local leather craftsmen use a traditional Italian way of finishing the leather to which they call, Tamponato. This hand-dyed technique creates unique finished looks with each leather piece.

Here are our special Tamponato Blue Series:

Franco Laptop Bag, Taylor Tote, Bianca Round Bag, Laptop Sleeve, and Utility Case.

Care Tips:

Keep well-conditioned with any leather conditioner. Expect changes in color variation and patina with prolonged use. This leather type will also get marks and stains but is not very distinct. You can rub your fingers in a circular motion on the leather to remove light scratches. The natural oil in our fingers helps in cleaning the leather. Keep away from moisture and prevent them from getting wet.

With vegetable-tanned leather bags and accessories, you can worry less about it giving up on you. We responsibly source only the highest quality leather and metalware. Every piece is handmade from pattern making to cutting, and handled intricately by our partner leather craftsmen. This ensures your SOS Bags and accessories will last as long as you need.



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