All CARV products are made from fine vegetable tanned leather. This leather is produced using a liquor containing natural tannins, such as tree bark, leaves and berries, giving it a beautiful look, smell and natural finish. Vegetable tanned leather adapts and ages well over time as the natural oils are retained in the tanning process. The beauty of this type of leather is that it has a life of it's own, darkening and developing a patina (a sheen that develops on the surface) over time. This all adds to the joy and character of your CARV product.
To keep your vegetable tanned leather in the best shape the following is recommended:
General care - Clean any spillages as soon as you can with a dry cloth and only resort to a damp cloth for particularly stubborn marks. Avoid cleaning detergents as they will dry out the leather. If after lots of use you do notice a slight dryness or dullness, you should condition your leather using a natural leather conditioner that is designed for aniline leather. Always test on a discreet area first to see if you are happy with the result and be careful not to coat the stitching. Becky recommends Oakwood Leather Conditioner which you can pick up online, or you can order a small care pack here (which will last around 6 months).
Weather exposure - Products can be used in all weather conditions; the beauty of natural leather is that it will develop a patina (sheen) and darken over time when exposed to water, sun and contact with skin oils - however you should avoid leaving products in direct sunlight to prevent quicker darkening. Ideally you should store the product in a cool, dry place when not in use and avoid extended periods of sunlight exposure which may alter the colour.
Water contact - As we avoid heavy artificial coatings our leather is not totally waterproof, but if you are caught in a rain shower and see dark streaks don't worry, simply let the leather dry naturally then polish gently with a dry cloth. Never try to dry your products quickly with artificial heat, as it will cause the leather to dry and become brittle.
Marking - Avoid contact with sharp objects to prevent scagging and scratching. If you do notice marks in the leather these can be gently buffed out using natural leather conditioner.
Colour transfer - While we do everything we can to prevent it, there is always a possibility of some colour from our leather transferring to light coloured fabrics. When breaking your products in, we recommend avoiding rubbing against light clothing or furniture. Be especially careful with our Natural undyed leather as this is susceptible to staining from other fabrics, particularly denim.
Brass hardware - Our buckles and fittings are solid brass and so, much like leather, they will develop a patina with use. We suggest a regular polish with a jewellery cloth to keep the brass glossy, but you may prefer to let it darken; it's all part of making the product your own.
Ageing - The vegetable tanned leather will age beautifully. This will involve softening and creasing in areas that see the most movement and also a slight darkening as the leather absorbs oils from your skin. This ageing is the joy of owning naturally tanned leather and will be totally unique to you. If, over time, your backpack or belt straps need to be tightened you can punch a couple of new holes for the buckles. This can be easily done with a low-cost tool that can be found on amazon here. Or alternatively you can arrange a visit to Broadway Market and Becky will add the holes for you.
Get in touch here if you have any further questions about vegetable tanned leather or caring for CARV products.