Given that leather hides can be quite thick, tanneries usually divide them into several layers. The bottom layer is called split leather and is used to make suede leather and lower quality leather handbags.
The "velvet" look and feel of the suede is obtained by sanding the top of the split layer. Other finished types of the split leather include applying a full layer of synthethic dye or, as it's becoming very common on many high street brands, a layer of applied PVC commonly known as plastic.
The top layer of the hide is immensely better. It’s this part that has been in contact with open air, sun and where the animal’s hair is implanted. This makes it incredibly elastic and at the same time resistant and durable. The top layer can be turned into Top Leather or Full Grain Leather. Top Leather is sanded so that it becomes uniform. It is then covered with dye for the manufacture of shoes and other leather goods.
Full Grain Leather is the name given to top leather which is untreated. The top surface of the hide is permeable, elastic and provides for a beautiful finish. Any marks are proudly shown, such as growth scars, barbed wire scratches and other traits.
CRU Leather London is proud to only use Full Grain Leather throughout its collection of leather handbags. As our leather is vegetable-tanned, no dye is used but rather some natural wax and shine to provide it with a warm, earthy colour palette (caramel, brown and very soon black as well!).
CRU’s leather handbags can exhibit natural marks and scars on the leather. Don't worry, it's not a defect! We simply opt to use the best Full Grain Leather to create our range of amazing handbags. No artificial dyes will be found anywhere near our leather. This way your bag will age and develop character with time, becoming merely an extension of you.
Why choose a boring, artificial handbag if you can have a unique creation from CRU's collection, no single handbag being the same? It's quite simple really.