What's 'Vegetable Tanning' (And Why Should You Care?)

Every leather product we make is vegetable tanned - not chemically treated. This is better for the environment and makes for a product with more personality.

Vegetable tanning was developed over centuries and perfected in Tuscany where all our leathers are sourced. The method involves several washes in vegetable oils which tan the leather, preserving it and making it fit for use for years, decades and if maintained properly, even centuries.

Whilst this was once the world's best and most common tanning technique, today only a fraction of leather is produced this way.

The rest is made through chemical tanning of one sort or another which can be damaging to the environment and the people working the leather. In contrast, our tannery returns clean water to the local rivers, and the only by-products are natural vegetable oils, which are broken down for fertilisers and used locally.

"It's possible that your next glass of Chianti was fertilised by the tanning process used to make Thomas Clipper leather goods."

- Matt Brown, co-founder Thomas Clipper

Our commitment to reducing our impact doesn't stop at vegetable tanning. Where possible, off-cuts from Thomas Clipper’s leather production are reused in handmade razor guards and small leather goods, reducing waste. On top of that we only use European hides. Some countries in South America are currently deforesting vast areas for cattle farming: using European hides means we're not contributing to this damage.

Environmental advantages aside, vegetable tanning is used by the world’s best leather makers for the quality and longevity of the end product.

Instead of wearing out, vegetable tanned products wear in, developing a unique pattina (texture) with age. You can be proud of a vegetable tanned product as it travels with you, gaining character with every adventure.

Shop the range of Thomas Clipper leather goods here.