Leathercraft is the age-old practice of crafting a piece of leather from the hides of animals into a work of art using unique shaping and coloring techniques. It’s a technique that has a rich history, having been used as early as prehistoric times.
Leathercraft: What is it?
As leathercraft is the making of useful products using the tanned hides of animals, it’s only natural that every hide is different depending on the animal and where on the body the hide is taken from. The thickness, strength, and flexibility also vary due to these factors, so no two leather products are ever the same. Even if they’re made from the same animal’s hide, each product is tanned, dyed and treated differently, adding to its uniqueness.
Image: Brown and red leather
Image Description: Rolls of vegetable tanned brown and red leather placed on floor
A Sustainable Practice
One of the main reasons that leathercraft is such a well-loved practice and product is because leather tends to last a really, really long time. Think of how long your mom has had her oldest leather purse or a leather belt that your dad’s been wearing since you were a kid - heck, how long have you had your favorite Kolhart shoe? The thing with leather is, it just doesn’t go out of style.
It gets better: leather doesn’t just last a long time, it also tends to get better with age. Many leathercraft products come with instructions on how to take care of it, and for good reason: leather products are one of the most sustainable, long-lasting, and durable products out there. And the feel of a good, well-treated leather product (especially shoes!) is like nothing else. As time passes, the material gets naturally softer yet sturdier, and the age that comes on the surface only adds to its beauty. No other natural fibers have the texture or longevity as leather.
Quality over Quantity
If you’re someone who’s environmentally conscious and want to make an intentional effort to only buy things that will last a long time rather than take part in fast fashion, consider investing in leathercraft products: bags that are made from real leather, or shoes like the ones we offer here at Kolhart. They’ll last you a lifetime, and unlike other materials, won’t break down and get worn within a few months of purchase so you’re back in the shop, again and again.
A Family Affair
Another factor to consider about leathercrafts is that it’s a practice that, once taken up, becomes something that is passed down from generation to generation. Many of the most well-known leather producers and manufacturers have been in the trade for centuries because they tend to pass down the business to their children or siblings. Even when taken up as a simple hobby, once you’ve bought all the supplies and learned how to do things like tanning, dyeing, painting, and all the other techniques, leathercraft is something you end up doing as a fun pass-time with family, children, and grandchildren.
Image: Man hammering a Kolhapuri shoe
Image Description: Artisan putting together a Kolhart Kolhapuri with blue straps
The Case for Leathercrafts
And leather simply doesn’t really go out of fashion. When you think of high-fashion statement pieces, oftentimes it is something made with leather that comes to mind: a bag, a belt, a journal or even your favorite Kolhart piece.
So the case for investing in good leathercrafts is pretty simple: you own something that is completely and utterly unique to you, and you alone. No one else on the planet has the exact same Kolhart kolhapuri or khussa as you do - and if you really think about it, isn’t your most-worn piece getting more comfortable, soft, and gorgeous as time passes?
Image: Woman wearing brown Kolhapuri
Image Description: Feet of a woman wearing brown leather Kolhapuri by Kolhart, in bright pink pants