Since ancient times, when man lived in caves, genuine leather has been a source of comfort and luxury. Even today, the promise of genuine leather remains the same. Genuine leather is porous, lint-free, environmentally adaptive, extremely flexible, stain-proof and flame retardant.
Genuine leather comes in ‘hides’ marked by the square meter. Each hide has its own story to tell. Distinctive natural features on the hide like growth/stretch marks, natural wrinkles and scars reveal the natural course of the hide. In addition, during the tanning process, variations in grain and natural colour are accentuated, improving the beauty of the hide.
As a sign of identification, our bags are always marked with the Foal monogram. Besides, being tough, durable and hard-wearing, the leather we use is soft and supple. It ages beautifully and develops a soft patina with time.
DEFINITION OF LEATHER
The skin of an animal with the hair removed and prepared by tanning or a similar process to preserve it and make it pliable or supple when dry. The life of a herd is eventful, which can also be a danger for the skin of the animal; let’s think about the brands as well as scratches caused by the barbed wire, wounds and abrasions…The traces of these experiences left on the leather are not, therefore, defects but they are in fact the proof that we are in front of a completely natural product. Leather is a substance which keeps its properties unchanged for many many years, but it must be looked at with care: it must be kept far from strong heat sources, sheltered from direct sunlight, and protected from water.
FOAL LEATHER CARE TIPS
Most leather items will have a care label stating “Dry Clean Only” or to be “Professionally Cleaned Only”. Leather is a very delicate material and should be carefully cleaned. Spot cleaning by very gently rubbing with a damp cloth and some Soak can usually clean up any little stains. To check whether leather is washable, check in an inconspicuous area whether water is adsorbed or beads up. If the droplets bead up, it can be washed.
GRAIN/PLAIN LEATHER BAGS
Regularly dust or brush with a soft brush, or wipe clean with a slightly damp cloth.
Never use excessive quantities of leather care products – the less the better. Once or twice a year the handbag should be wiped with a cloth dampened with white spirit to thoroughly cleanse the leather surface from old and discoloured waxes, etc. It should then be given a very light treatment with a proprietary polish, and finally rubbed up with a soft clean cloth.
SUEDE LEATHER BAGS
Brush regularly with a soft suede brush or rub gently with a plastic foam block.
Minor stains and marks may be removed with a hard rubber eraser, or by touching up the surface with a fine emery paper. The leather should retain its colour and appearance if it is regularly treated with a fluorocarbon aerosol spray product. These make the leather water repellent, and offer protection from grease and dust. There is a wide range of suede cleaning and colouring products on the market, and these will give excellent results. Depending upon the product.
As your Foal bag is made from 100% genuine leather there are sometimes small variations in colour, feel, and surface. These are characteristics of leather and are not considered flaws or faults, and are part of the beauty of using natural materials. The fact that everything is handmade means there will be slightly uneven stitching or other ‘imperfections’, enjoy the fact that your bag is unique!
WEAR & TEAR
The recycled leathers used are intended to wear and soften with age. Your bag might be a little stiff when you receive it but this thickness will add to its durability and it will quickly soften after a few uses. Be careful of the bottom corners of your bag, these get the most wear. Keeping your bag off the floor, and conditioning the corners will help. Also recommended is avoiding overstuffing your bag- this strains all stress points in your bag, and can stretch the leather out of shape. Avoid contact with sharp objects as this can tear the leather. For belt pouches, the most stress is going to be where the belt attaches to the bag. So keep an eye on this area and if the stitching seems to be loosening have it repaired as soon as possible.
The leather colour has been dyed, not painted on the surface. Leather which has painted or surface colour will have a more even surface but it never feels as nice, and with wear painted colour can come off or crack. Dyed leather does not have this characteristic and if taken care of it will never crack or peel. Dyeing, especially on lighter colours, means that the natural variations of the hides, such as scar marks, creases and colour variation will show more easily. This is to be expected using a natural material with the signs of life on the skin, just as we have these variations on our skin. We respect and enjoy these variations and certainly do not consider them as a fault.
PROTECTORS & POLISH
Leather protector spray can be used on your item. This usually waterproofs the leather and to some extent the fabric also. Leather cream or conditioner is recommended occasionally to nourish the leather and protect it from extensive rubbing and scratches. Water-proofing, cleaning and conditioning of your bag may be done either by yourself or by taking it to a handbag repairer to do this for you. We recommend testing the conditioning/cleaning product you purchase in an inconspicuous area first, before applying to the whole bag. Please follow the instructions of the product you choose to use carefully- we will not be held responsible if you have not followed instructions properly.
As the leather cream is reintroducing oils into the leather, on lighter colours it may darken the colour to some extent, which will fade with time. Please carefully test the product first, and allow to dry naturally to see results before proceeding. We do not recommend wipe on/wipe off or polishing conditioners these can leave cloudy marks, and are really intended for shoes or hard leathers, and are not suitable for our products. Lighter colours do mark more easily, ensure that the leather is kept away from things such as pens and oil. Be careful also of wearing with denim the dye used in denim is not stable, this dye can rub off onto the leather. Leather cleaners can be useful but may not completely remove a stain or mark from lighter colours.
If you are after a ‘distressed’ look do not use any conditioning, let the leather soften and crease naturally.
If your bag comes into contact with water ensure it is left somewhere warm to dry thoroughly.
Mould can occur due to moisture in the air or contact with water. If signs of mould are visible, place your FOAL in front of a heater (or sunny window) for a few days, then wipe down the mould area with a soft cloth (no water), then continue to dry the bag for another few days. This should remove all signs of mould.
In some of our designs, we are able to use waterproofing material in between two layers of leather. This helps protect against water damage. Sometimes after a few wears the waterproofing material can loosen and appear visible. These loose threads can be burnt off without any consequence to the bag. Just be careful as to not burn any stitching.