Leather For Every Weather

Depending on the time of year you’re likely to encounter three typical weather types in India – scorching summers, bone-chilling winters, and road-flooding monsoons. Here’s how you can prepare your leather menu for each of these seasons.

Summer: Good for leather, just take these precautions

Keep your leather items in a cool, dark place like the back of your cupboard. If you live in a humid zone you should also add some silica gel sachets between the leather items to keep them dry.

You can still wear leather backpacks or belts outside, but too much exposure to direct sunlight is not ideal – it causes the leather to fade and dry out (the moisture and natural oils from the leather evaporate). You might have seen this in older leather sofas & chairs where excess dryness caused it to crack.

Be sure to apply leather conditioner to any large leather items – sofa, backpacks, jackets 3 to 4 times a year, and at least once during the hot season. Do NOT apply any kind of oil like olive oil to these items, it will damage them.

Monsoons: Not the greatest time for leather, but manageable

Real leather always has a few pores and therefore isn’t waterproof. Arguably, rains are the worst time for leather shoes. But you can still wear them if you’re careful – just apply a wax based waterproofing coat beforehand. You will find these products online under the name “bootwax”, “shoe grease” or “leather waterproofer”.

With suede & nubuck, don’t expose them to water at all – they are soft and delicate grades of leather as compared to full grain. You’ll also have to protect those with special suede / nubuck conditioners.

No matter what you do, that pesky rainwater always gets to one leather accessory – your wallet. The best way to maintain one is to empty it, clean off any dirt with a damp cloth, apply leather conditioner and then let it dry at room temperature. (Insert a credit card into each side, in the billfold, to help it retain its shape as it dries)

And once again – silica gel keeps moisture away!

Winter: Leather paradise

Snow in the north, wind in the plains and blue in the skies. The perfect time of the year to go all-out with leather gear. A rugged leather backpack for that trek in Himachal or Uttrakhand.

A jacket and gloves for your bike ride. Matching belts & wallets for your soirees. And perhaps a duffle for your Christmas holiday trip.

Even during the winter, take extra good care of leather goods. Snow, winter rain etc can seep in and do damage if you don’t allow your gear to dry. Follow the drying process mentioned above (for rains). Don’t be tempted to keep leather in front of artificial heat sources like electric heaters or radiators – it will dry too fast and develop cracks.

7 Ways To Determine Whether That Leather Is Real Or Not

Whether you’re planning to gift a belt to a close friend, or perhaps looking out to treat yourself to a leather backpack, it’s always wise to make sure that the product you’re buying is of the highest quality. Here are some ways you can determine the quality of leather – and also whether it’s genuine or not!

  • Imperfections are good! Since real leather comes from animals, and no animal skin is absolutely perfect, the end product’s surface will typically have wrinkles, scratches, creases and ‘pebble’ formations. This is an indicator of it being real.

However, do note that manufacturers are also skilled at copying these imperfections to make fake products look real. If you see a specific pattern of wrinkles & creases repeating on the product surface – then it’s just a well-made false leather product!

  • Examine the edges. Real leather will have a slight amount of fraying / rough edges and will never be absolutely straight. Machine-made false leather will have edges that are perfectly cut, almost “too good to be true”.
  • Smell the product. Getting that classic, musty natural smell? Then it’s real. A product made with false leather will typically smell like plastic and strong chemicals.

The natural smell is a key part of the experience of owning real leather products!

  • Read the product label carefully. If it doesn’t specifically say one of the following – real leather, genuine leather, top / full grain leather, made with animal products – then it is almost certainly a synthetic product.
  • Wave a lighter quickly across the raw area of the leather. Real leather has good fire resistance, and the worst that could happen is slight charring. Plastic-based materials will shrivel up as soon as the flame hits. Some may even catch on fire instantly!

Note – we don’t recommend using this test unless absolutely necessary, it’ll ruin a small portion of your product.

  • The popular ‘water test’ only works for specific types of leather, and should not be used as a final judgement to determine if the product is real or fake. The assumption behind the test is that real leather will absorb water while fake leather will not, however there are several grades of real leather which do not absorb water either.
  • Finally, note that the colour of leather has absolutely no relation to it being real or fake! Even the best quality real leather can easily be dyed any colour from bright yellow to deep blue to regular brown.

You can be assured that all Camelio products are crafted using 100% real leather. We source our materials from a variety of locations, with leather coming from Spain, Italy, Egypt, India, etc. Our non-leather elements like stitching threads, metal elements and fabric are also carefully chosen for their quality. Our thread is imported from Germany, and is manufactured by Gutermann. Metal elements across our product range are made from a special corrosion-resistant zinc alloy. We can confidently say that our products are durable enough to retain their look and feel for several years of use!

Leather Terminology

If you’re a leather lifestyle devotee like us, you are probably more interested in learning about the various terms used in the leather world. Here are a few to get you started!

Grain: This refers to the natural markings on the surface of leather. Read our other article for more on full grain, split grain etc.

Patina: A ‘luster’ look that comes naturally as the leather ages.

Hand: The softness or the feel of a particular type of leather.

Buffing: A process used to minimize surface level imperfections in the hide. It makes the final product a little more uniform, but also brings out some natural grain that makes every leather product unique.

Finishing: This refers to the application of a clear or pigmented coat onto the hide. The purpose is to provide resistance to abrasion, stains etc while enhancing the product’s colours. Finish may be applied multiple times to increase stiffness, depending on the end use of the leather.

Sauvage: This is a 2-tone effect that adds more depth.

Milling: A natural process to soften the leather, where it is tumbled in a dry drum.

Embossing: This is a process of mechanically imprinting a pattern onto the surface of the leather. Eg. Alligator print, snake print, etc.