I have been a lover of good leather products for a while. So especially for Christmas I have been searching a lot lately for new brands. It is really hard to distinguish quality from poorly produced bags. Especially if you can’t really get in touch with the product, but only have a small image of it in front of you. Prices then vary between a cheap version at H&M, Zara or other stories for about 50 USD to the famously “overpriced” Hermes Bag of 20.000 Dollar. Without question the cheap bags can’t be made in human or even animal worthy conditions, can’t be made out of good quality and definitely lack the uniqueness of a small design brand. But honestly I neither have the money to buy a bag from Louis Vuitton or Hermes. And if I had, it would be more of pretentious glittering thing, I actually don’t want anyone to see me with.
How to find quality leather products?
So what’s left is the middle range. The hard to spot quality design products, which come without the expensive overhead costs and shopkeepers with white gloves on the world most expensive streets. Harder to spot, as I do have to make my research first to identify, what makes a difference between a quality product in leather and a cheap knock off. First comes first after a short research the most natural leather for me is definitely vegetable tanned leather, also called Vachetta (Louis Vuitton) or vegtan.
This is leather, that have been tanned the traditional way, over a month in the tannery. The cheaper industrialized and also worse quality counterpart chromium leather is a fast produced and therefore way cheaper kind. It is like comparing a cheap plastic watch with a perfectly produced Chronometer. Even then vegetable tanned leather does have different qualities. While some Companies claim, that the marks and stretches on their product are highlighting the natural appearance, in fact they are just using a leather, that is way cheaper. Another way of marketing to trick us.
The next part are the small details as buttons and zippers. If you touched some day a Hermes bag you will understand the difference between the solid brass metal buttons and the cheap and light buttons, you see at the Zara store. Don’t get distracted, good producers, will always enclose the Materials they use. The last thing to notice is the level of craftsmanship applied to the bag and wallets. Are the seams straight in order, are the pieces cut properly?
Leather clutches, wallets, notebooks and even laptop sleeves
So I did my research and found a small atelier in Barcelona called Manuel Dreesmann or short MADRE. They are actually sourcing the materials from the leather to all metal parts exactly from the same tanneries and producers as the big brands like Hermes, Dior or Louis Vuitton. Even the production is based in Barcelona and honestly I haven’t seen such delicate hand stitching (There are just a couple of brands offering hand stitched or saddle stitched leather products due to the immense costs) with other brands yet.
Speaking of the uniqueness of the brand, if have to admit, that I haven’t seen any other brand combining such sleek minimal design with good handcraft. The leather wallets they offer on their website are folded with a precision like Origami but still look like they would last forever. The original way of printing patterns in limited editions with the sun makes this brand outstanding in my opinion. They don’t offer yet leather design bags, but I send the designer an Email and he promised to introduce soon bags into the market. For me this is very exciting, as I always wanted to have such a high quality leather product, but could never afford it.
This is simply speaking the young modern version of Hermes for a fraction of their costs!
Check it out yourself: