Leather Tanning Process

We’ve been working together with the Shee Sen Tannery to improve, expand and promote the production and use of eco-friendly leathers. We have noticed that the interest in sustainable leather tanning processes has increased in the last years. This is great news, because it means that the industry is becoming more concerned with their environmental impact. Curious how our leather is made?

Wet White Tanning

Our tanneries use a process called Wet White Tanning for all their eco-leathers. This method of tanning is safe and more environmentally friendly. The process is free of harmful chemicals and heavy metals, like chromium and formaldehyde. To verify this, the leather is tested by SGS, an independent inspection agency.

The name of this tanning process derives from the fact that, after the process, hides look white instead of blue like the chrome-hides do. The tanning liquor used for eco-leathers is comprised of a combination of tanning agents and natural vegetable extracts. The steps in the tanning process are described below, and can take up to 8 weeks!

The Tanning Stages

  1. Preparing: the hides are prepared for tanning by removing the unwanted raw skin components.
  2. Tanning: this is the process that converts the protein of the skin into a stable material that will not decompose. The hides are loaded into a drum and immersed in the tanning liquor. They soak for 2-3 days while the drum slowly rotates and the tanning liquor infiltrates the full hide.
  3. Crusting: the hide is then thinned (this is called shaving), stretched and lubricated. In this phase, the skins are also dried, softened and receive their color.
  4. Finishing: the surface coating is applied and the final look is created. This stage is also when our croco print hides received the heat press pattern. Read more about our different leather types on the Our Leathers page.