Leather - the process, sustainability, & care
In a world of fashion and materials, Sage was drawn to leather for its true sustainability and durability. “I wanted to create functional art through materials that would last a life-time, pieces to be handed down generation to generation”.
The quality of our goods are only as good as the quality of the materials we use. Each hide is hand picked to ensure color, texture, and pattern is just right for each item. Leather will always carry the marks of the life the animals led - bumps, bruises, and stretch marks are the badges of time.
In our studio, we cut our pieces by hand to avoid large scars and minimize wasted material. We use offcuts to make our smaller items and keep working to create new things to avoid as much waste as possible.
The rivets, snaps, zippers, and all the other pieces of hardware that adorn the bags are solid cast brass - a material that will patina and age just as the leather will. Moving to only use solid cast hardware means that it costs us a little more to produce our goods but we can feel more confident that they will last longer and the color won’t wear off.
Each piece is truly made by hand - stitched one at a time in our Wisconsin workshop. The edges are painstakingly hand beveled, sanded, and burnished. And each detail is obsessively inspected before it reaches your hands where you finish the process with your use.
Our leather is hand-picked by Sage from Seidel Tanning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is an incredible privilege to have one of the nation’s last tanneries in our state. And we are proud to purchase our leather from Seidel, a fourth-generation, family owned business with a commitment to excellence and environmental sustainability. Most of our material sourced from Seidel is “mill end leather”.
Mill end materials are the excesses and mistakes from large production runs. Hides that have imperfections or aren’t quite the color ordered will be cast off. We sort through the reject piles to find those gems that will be given a second chance in our studio instead of going to waste.
It is no secret that the livestock industry has a huge impact on our climate. But leather is a by-product of the meat and dairy industry, cattle are not being raised for their hides alone. It can break down in a landfill, unlike plastic-based leathers and fabrics. And our USA produced leather is ethically produced, adhering to strict environmental and labor policies.
For all of those reasons, we believe leather is a sustainable choice for your wardrobe. We design pieces that we hope will remain classic for years to come and we produce them to last just as long. Your leather bag will grow in character with age and patina over time. Marks and slight changes in color are expected and a badge of a long and adventure-filled life.
Rather than wearing out, full grain leather will naturally condition with use, developing a much sought-after patina and unique character over time. Your leather goods will be stunning when you use them for the first time, and only increase in beauty every day, becoming something you will treasure for a lifetime.
To make sure your leather accessories last as long as they should, avoid getting them soaking wet and store them in a dark, low moisture spot.
High humidity can cause the leather to get mildew spots - but don’t freak out! Mildew and mold can be cleaned off of leather with diluted rubbing alcohol or a leather specific detergent. To remove stains, use a damp microfiber cloth and large circular motions to ensure that the all-over color and texture of your bag will remain consistent. Avoid rubbing aggressively in one spot as it can create a shiny and darkened area. And it is always best to do a test spot on a less visible part of your bag before you start on the whole thing!
Dry climates can make leather dry and crack over time. If you notice your leather goods hardening in some areas or lightening in color, it may be time to apply some leather conditioner. We like lightweight leather creams - they have less oils in them and won’t change the color of your bag as much as some other options. But in general, natural oils from your hands and frequent use will keep your bag conditioned enough. We don’t use leather conditioners often!
Fur on Hide Care
Fur on hide is a specialty material that requires more careful treatment than our standard leather goods. It should also be noted that shedding is normal and we consider those signs of wear to be a badge of a well-loved purse with a beautiful patina. But if you prefer the pristine look, save your bag for those special occasions.
To reduce any shedding, handle your piece with the care deserved of a best friend. It won’t be a lover of moisture or dramatic temperature change and it doesn’t get along with tightly woven nylon fabrics (like puffy winter jackets).
Do not use rubbing alcohol to clean fur on hide! A moist cloth and mild, diluted detergent can be used to clean dirt and spills. Be careful with alcohol based products around your bag, such as perfumes and hairspray. They can affect the integrity of the fur and cause more shedding. Protective sprays made specifically for suede can be applied to the fur to help prevent stains and shedding but please follow the manufacturer’s instructions and always test on a small, less noticable area first!