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Ode to Leather: Global Origins and Tanneries

leather hides hanging on a bar

We traversed the globe to uncover the best leather to use for Memorí sunglass cases. It is time to share what we have learned. This post explores the countries renowned for their exquisite leather, unravels the intricate tapestry of leather hide sourcing and tanneries, and explores the environmental footprint of diverse tanning methods.

Crafting Excellence: The Origins of Leather

From the sun-kissed landscapes of Italy, to the enchanting workshops of France, to the vibrant heart of Mexico, the art of crafting the finest leather has become synonymous with countries celebrated for their heritage of mastery. Italy, a haven of tradition, imbues leather with unparalleled quality, while France's legacy is of excellence and of luxury. Mexico, a rising star in the world of leather, offers a unique blend of history and innovation with some newer tanneries relative to Italy and France that are creating an irresistible allure for discerning connoisseurs. It is true that India has the most cows of any country on earth – but quantity does not always equal quality.

Stacked leather hides and a pair of hands cutting leather pieces

 Deciphering the Art of Leather Sourcing and Tanneries

The alchemy of leather production commences with the meticulous selection of premium hides. These hides are often byproducts of the meat industry, ensuring a responsible and sustainable use of resources. This harmonious relationship between leather and sustenance is a cornerstone of our commitment to ethical luxury. These carefully chosen hides then embark on a transformative journey within tanneries, where tradition and modernity intertwine to give birth to luxurious leather.

Tanneries: Where Craftsmanship Meets Magic

Tanneries, those sanctuaries of creativity, breathe life into raw hides, turning them into sumptuous leather that's both resilient and evocative. Here, age-old techniques blend seamlessly with cutting-edge innovation, embodying the essence of luxury fashion. Within these hallowed walls, hides undergo an enchanting metamorphosis, emerging as supple, richly textured works of art, ready to adorn the world's most discerning individuals. Like a family’s secret recipe, all of the world’s best tanneries have their own formula to tan the hides. Some tanneries widely recognized as the best in the world are as follows: Horween (USA), Le Farc (Mexico), Badalassi (Italy) and CF Stead (England).

Sustainability and Leather Tanning: A Harmonious Symphony

The ecological impact of leather production rests on the methods employed during tanning. The traditional practice of vegetable tanning, utilizing organic substances, results in enduring beauty and minimal environmental stress. Vegetable tanned leather generally has a very supple hand feel, but can stain easily and is more fragile. In contrast, chromium tanning, while efficient and durable, sometimes carries ecological consequences.

As champions of top quality yet sustainable materials, we prioritize tanning practices that honor nature while being as durable as possible. This reflects our commitment to responsible craftsmanship and the design of products that will not need to be regularly replaced. 

The Tapestry of Leather and Sustenance

It's crucial to acknowledge the intrinsic link between leather and sustenance. A substantial portion of leather used in fashion and accessories originates from cattle primarily raised for meat consumption. By repurposing these hides, we honor the lives of these animals and ensure no part goes to waste. In reframing hides as works of art, we breathe new life into their contributions, epitomizing our ethos of mindful luxury.

Leather Hides being processed and dried outdoors

Elevating Tradition: Leather's Timeless Grandeur

In the realm of luxury fashion, leather is an embodiment of artistry, heritage, and a deep connection with nature. We sourced leather for Memorí sunglass cases to encapsulate the essence of our brand – a perfect fusion of meticulous craftsmanship and ethical values. 

Think of other designer eyewear brands. What do their cases look like? Are they upfront about where their leather comes from? Is it even leather? Perhaps their cases are cardboard. As we uphold tradition, spark innovation, and redefine luxury, we invite you to make memories with us.


P.S. – follow us for insider events, some of which involve workshops where you can design and make your own Memorí eyeglass case out of the sustainably sourced hide of your choice.

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