Keeping it real - 3 ways to identify real leather

So you bought/want to invest in a beautiful leather bag, belt, sofa etc. But how do you know if it is the real deal? We strongly believe that if it's leather you want then leather you should have and these quick tips will help you tell the real apart from the not so real.

1. Put your nose to the test

The smell of leather is unmistakeable. So put your nose to work and smell the item. Does it have that rich, familiar leather smell or is it more plasticy or a tad chemical heavy. If the answer is the latter, then chances are, that's not real leather you are holding.

2. Take a (really) close look

If you take a close look at the finer detail of real leather (stretch and flex the item) you will see pores. Remember leather is skin after all. These will be unevenly spaced and naturally dispersed. Markings on fake leather are more uniform as they are machine created.

3. Use the elements

Both of these are probably not the way to go if checking items in-store but water and fire are both good way to test leather. Pick an inconspicuous part and see how the item reacts.

- Leather, especially veg tanned leather, absorbs water. So a small drop of water should quickly tell you whether you are looking at real leather or not. Note that chrome tanned leather is more water resistant

- Real leather will char a little under flame and smell a like burning hair while fake leather will shrivel, catch fire and smell like burnt plastic.


Leather Zulu is a specialist leather goods repair and manufacturing workshop in Johannesburg.

Contact us to talk about your leather repair or manufacturing requirements.


#leather #genuine #real #fake

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