SPLIT! Is the first collection we created at Yurs all made of split leather.
But what is split leather?
Leather, just like wood, is a large and generic term that includes a wide range of hides and when you’re shopping for leather, it can be quite confusing: Is it bullhide, cowhide or sheepskin? Is it a shoulder, a side or a back cut? Is it natural leather, vegetable leather, full grain,
We lost you at sheepskin, haven’t we?
Well, to make it simple, there’re a lot of different leathers on the market and every kind of leather has its own set of characteristics that makes each one of them best suitable for a specific kind of use.
Whether it’s for furnishings, belts, horse saddles or shoe soles, every product has its own requirements in terms of resistance, softness and finishing. This is why the selection of the right leather is crucial when designing a leather good.
Now most leathers on the market go through a long process with multiple treatments in order to create certain effects or enhance certain properties. Whether it’s through dying, buffing, sanding or embossing, some operations are intended to make the material suitable for use while some other operations are intended to alter the material somehow and give it an effect it doesn’t naturally have.
At Yurs, we consider leather a living material that evolves with time and use. Sensitive to its environment, it’s a skin that ages with abrasion and exposure to air and sun. Our aim is to be as faithful as possible to this material, to take into consideration its qualities as much as its flaws and to be overall considerate of its essence. This is why we decided to work with a natural hide with the least treatments possible translating the essence of the leather and the spirit of our products’ line.
Now what exactly is split leather? Split is the name commonly used to designate the lower layer of a hide once the top-grain has been cut.
It is often used in shoe and furniture making for its breathability and a long-lasting use. Although it can be disregarded by the leather industry and considered a less noble material, we decided we wanted to highlight this material’s beauty with this Lebanese split leather: its undyed finish that gives it a rare medium taupe colour and a cloudy gradient pattern makes each and every piece of hide unique and therefore each and every bag created using it one of a kind.
If you’re reading this, you probably want to know how leather is produced and tanned, how much impact it has on our environment; how ethical it is vis-à-vis the workers involved in its making...
You basically want to know how sustainable it is and whether in our current eco-conscious era you should be consuming it.
First, you’re absolutely right about wanting to know all of this.
You should be curious, and even more than curious, you should have certain standards as a consumer on what you are buying, hence supporting. But to be honest the matter of sustainability isn’t black or white as one might think, or to be more accurate, things aren't just green or non-green.
Each and every step of the life of a material has an impact on its sustainability: Extraction process, production, conditioning, packaging, shipping, using, recycling, disposing...
When it comes to leather, it's a heavily criticized material.
As much as the raw material itself (the skin) doesn’t actually need additional land and resources to make, being a byproduct from another industry (meat industry), the environmental impact of the conventional chrome based tanning is its most controversial aspect. But alternatives to chemical tanning do exist, such as the vegetable tanned leathers we use at Yurs. They're made of natural materials that are chrome-free and eco-friendly.
Another aspect in favor of leather's sustainability is its resistance. It's a uniquely long-lasting material, and one of the first ones humankind has known and produced. Even before anything close to machinery was known, humans were producing leather. It has stood the test of time and has reached us today proofing itself to be one of the most reliable materials we have.
It has no integrated obsolescence feature. As a matter of fact, it has a way of aging gracefully and acquiring a patina without compromising its qualities. A leather good can last a lifetime without needing a functional replacement.
So we decided we wanted to use this material as it was. Robust yet malleable, long-lasting yet delicate. We created goods that don’t have buckles, glue, threads, fabric or any added material whatsoever. Because less materials, less global impact. So we thought the product through with one and only one component and it turns out all the solutions were provided by the hide itself and the way it is designed.
The matter of fact is that being responsible and sustainable today is actually as much related to how we consume than to what it is that we consume. Buying less but better is a very healthy and sustainable approach to consumerism and we decided to apply it starting with our own products.
In that sense, Yurs leather goods are essential and optimal in every possible way. They're made of leather. Period.