Leather is probably one of the earliest items that came to be used by men. It has been stretched across time, woven through the history of the human race itself and has been its comrade throught thick and thin. The use of leather has been documented in ancient texts dating back to the Assyrian times and more recent findings have even placed leather items in Neolithic times, thus proving that even back then leather was an important commodity in everyday life.

There are numerous citings that provide a look into the tanning techniques that were employed during the older times when the modern chemicals were not available. Everything from drying in the sun to smoking were used to mold the hides into usable leather sheets. Early town planners also made sure to keep the tanneries away from the general populace owing to the smell emanating from them.

Fascinatingly, the early civilizations such as the Egyptians used leather in the form of scrolls for keeping records. It was later in the Roman times that leather came to be used as a clothing accessory in the form of dresses and shoes. Some ages later, when the empires of Middle East were at their height, leather goods gained popularity owing to their heat resistant nature. It was in these times that the earliest leather bags found their shape in the form of satchels used by couriers.

With the onset of the industrial age, the procedures of tanning have become sophisticated and complex but somehow the touch of a craftsmen is still required to give it eye-catching finish. Nothing replaces the touch of that age old experience. This is a further demonstration of the fact that leather has gone hand in hand with the history of mankind, maintaining those features of “craftsmanship” which even today with increasing automation are an essential part of the personal sensibility and solid experience of those carry it on, like the Antidote Store where we recognize that every piece of leather is actually a piece of history.

Fashion has always had a story behind it. A tale that has lead to the creation of an item that has changed the way the world functions. From the denim revolution of the late 19th century or the advent of leather bags for women in the 1850s, every great turn in fashion has had a lasting effect on all future generations.

The one difference that sets the advancements in the field of fashion apart from any other field is that they were all driven by necessity and not the pursuit of knowledge. That is why every corner of the globe has made some or the other contribution to the changing face of fashion. Every civilisation has made valuable additions to this field and no other item has been more influenced than handbags. From complete utilitarian ones to ones that radiate elegance, every leather handbag has been the combined result of a great many generations. A simple glance at the handbag history is enough to elucidate this fact:

  1. Satchels: Also known as a messenger bag or rider bag. A small bag with a long sling worn sideways, heavily used by horse riders and cross country travelers. Commonly used by both genders during the middle ages.
  2. Kiondo : A handwoven bag made from the twines of sisal tree. Highly utilitarian and indigenous to the tribes of Kenya. Introduced recently to the western markets.
  3. Jute Bags : Very popular in India and the sub-continental area. Made from the threads spun from the coarse fibers of the jute plant. Famous for their durability and eco-friendly nature.
  4. Doctor Bags: Made famous in 19th century America. As the name suggests used mostly by doctors but later on garnered attention of the women due to their immense spacious interiors.

The list goes on and on and on…… .Time and again the needs of people have generated masterpieces out of some simple sheets of treated leather. The story of leather handbags for women is steeped in history and has a great many tales to tell. Every stitch holds in it infinite memories and countless dreams. We here, at the Antidote Store, just try to present that story to you and we try to make sure that when you take one of them home, that you have story of your own.

All vast stores of knowledge take time to grasp and this spread of women handbags is no different. Just like a trusted mentor, the Antidote store will be with you to answer any queries and to quell your doubts because this journey has only just begun.

Knowledge never hurt anyone and when it comes to your precious handmade leather bag, there’s no such thing as too much knowledge. Keeping that in mind, we at Antidote Store are here to take you over the nuances of the leather trade. Once you’ve set your heart and hands on a leather product, it will be good for you to get to know the make and build of it. This will give you not only an acute sense of taste but will also help you groom your bag more efficiently. Leather basically comes in 4 forms depending on it’s grain ie the texture of the surface.

  1. Full-grain:

This type of leather has a untempered surface that has not been smoothed over or buffed up to remove the imperfections (or natural marks) that are present on the surface of the hide. The grain retains it’s natural properties which allows for better fiber strength and greater durability. The leather also has greater aeration, thus resulting in less moisture absorption from prolonged contact. Over-time full-grain leather forms a benign layer over it which extends it’s lifetime.

  1. Top-grain:

This type of leather is most commonly used in making high-end leather products and is the second-highest quality used across the market. The “split” layer or top layer of the hide is ground away , which makes it thinner and more ductile than the full-grain leather. Its surface is processed, treated and a finishing coat is added which results in a more shiny and plastic feel. The surface breathes less and therefore it does not develop a natural patina ie a benign coating over time. It is usually costs less but from a consumer stand point it has a greater resistance to stains than full-grain leather.

  1. Corrected-grain:

This type of leather is one that is formed once an artificial grain applied to the original surface of the hide due to commercial or production reasons. The hides that are used to create corrected leather are usually the ones that fail to meet the standards set for use in creating treated and processed leather. The scars, tears and bumps in the hide are buffed or ground off, and an extra coating of artificial grain is embossed onto the surface and then treated with stain or dyes. Usually corrected-grain leather is used to make pigmented leather as the solid pigment helps cover any faults or imperfections.

  1. Split:

Hides are mostly made of 3 layers namely epidermis, grain and corium. Sometimes hides are often too thick for direct use and so they have to be split layerwise through the corium before preocessing. Split leather is created once the fibrous part of the hide which is left after the top-grain of the rawhide has been sliced away from it. After the slicing procedure, an artifical layer is applied to the surface of the split and embossed with leather grain. This type of leather is mostly used to create suede products. Knowing your leather bag inside out will not only pay dividends in style but will help you to increase its life. Feel the grain of leather and understand what goes into making it a masterpiece.