Plenty of people love leather, from designers to fashionistas to connoisseurs and everyone in between. Leather looks great and also feels great in your hand or on your skin, and unlike most materials, it ages gracefully. In fact, the way leather ages is almost as unique as the person using it, developing different patina patterns depending on how it has been used, which can vary from person to person. As beautiful and biodegradable as it might be, its source and production are highly controversial. Synthetic leathers, on the other hand, just don’t cut it in terms of quality and sustainability. There are new kinds of more sustainable and more ethically-sourced leather being developed, but while we wait for them to become more commonplace, the least we can do is to make sure that not even a scrap of leather is wasted, which is exactly what these handsome leather wallets are doing.
Designer: Tanner Goods
While leather itself is more sustainable than materials that use synthetic fibers or chemicals, its creation is, unfortunately, a questionable process. Of course, it continues to be the material of choice for many premium products, many of which produce plenty of waste from scraps and cutoffs that are simply thrown out. While reusing these pieces won’t exactly eradicate the leather problem completely, it does mean that there could be less need for fresh leather every time a new product is made.
That’s the kind of smart reuse that Tanner Goods is proposing with its newest addition to its leather wallet collection. The wallets are made from 100% recycled leather that was ground from the cutoffs of their own leather gloves. These are then bound with natural latex, which means that the process and the materials are at least more sustainable than manufacturing leather wallets from scratch.
The results are wallets that are nearly identical to the non-recycled versions, except perhaps in the shades of brown that might have been a design choice to visually differentiate the two groups. In terms of the tactile qualities, Tanner Goods says that the wallets match those of the leather gloves they were sourced from, which might mean they’re also distinct from your conventional leather wallet. The “fresh” leather, for example, looks smoother and shinier, while the recycled leather has a more textured surface and less gloss. It’s not a perfect match, but it also gives the wallets their own distinct personalities.
It’s just a small drop in the sea that is the leather industry, and this strategy might not apply to larger leather products. A more substantial and long-term solution would be to produce more sustainable and ethical kinds of leather, such as those made from plants. Those still have kinks that need to be ironed out, but in the meantime, small efforts like this could still go a long way in making recycled leather more known and accepted, especially when it looks and feels like new leather anyway.