What Cuba is to cigars and Scotland is to whisky, Italy is to leather. That’s to say that in their category, they are simply and unquestionably, pure and simple, a cut above the rest of the world. A genuine ‘Made in Italy’ leather item means that right from the hide sourcing to tanning and dyeing, and then designing and manufacturing, every single step of the process has occurred in Italy. Such ‘Made in Italy’ leather goods command a hefty premium among the well heeled and style conscious buyers the world over and carry price tags running into hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars. What makes these ‘Made in Italy’ leather goods so aspirational that buyers are willing to pay truly hefty premiums for them? Is it all perception, or is there substance behind it too?
We explain the key reasons in this article.
The three factors that make ‘Made in Italy’ leather goods by far the best in the world are their simply superb leather quality, outstanding designs and exquisite craftsmanship. Now let’s take a brief look at all these three factors one by one.
Italian leather is simply the best in the world.
Italy is world’s most exclusive leather destination. Not just high-end leather goods, it is also world leader in leather tanning and manufacturing machinery. As per Assomac, the association of Italian manufacturers of machines for footwear, leather and tannery industries, almost 50% of world’s footwear and leather goods machinery and 80% of tanning machinery is sourced from Italy. These specialized manufacturers focus on quality and technological advancements, and find buyers worldwide. So when a buyer opts for ‘Made in Italy’ leather goods and accessories, the assurance of the finest production process is inherent and implicit. Now let’s move from leather machinery to leather itself.
The real Italian leather or Cuoio italiano, as they call it in Italy, is sourced, tanned, dyed and made into products totally in Italy. Being high-end and super premium, the focus is not on mass production. The focus is totally on quality and exclusivity. Italian leather manufacturers use the best quality natural tanning agents, dyes and finishing techniques to produce the very best leather. As tanning, dyeing and finishing work together to give leather not just durability and longevity, but personality and charm as well, this becomes a key factor in production of best quality leather. Leather companies here are mostly family-owned businesses handed down generations where traditional leather tanning recipes are guarded as zealously as state secrets.The industry may be small and tightly held by a select few but it supplies tanned leather to 120 countries. 20% of world’s leather is produced in Italy. Do remember that combined with Italian leather’s exclusiveness, 20% market share overall is quite fantastic.
Then genuine Italian leather is made from the best cowhides available i.e. hides from well fed, well cared for cows without injuries, scars or disease; and it is full grain i.e. from the thickest section of the cowhide that doesn’t need to be sanded and thus is super durable. Actually full grain leather, like a good wine, gets better with time. Have a genuine Italian leather bag with ‘Made in Italy’ tag? You have invested in a quality product that will never crack, or discolor or peel. On the contrary, it will acquire added sheen as time passes.
Italian design is the classiest you can find
Italian craftsmanship, it is the most exquisite your money can buy.Italian leather may be outstanding but it is still a raw material that needs design and production before it can command top dollars on shop shelves. That’s where Italy’s formidable design reputation gets to work. Fashions made in Italy are huge favourites of those who are willing to spend astronomical sums to join the ‘best dressed and the best accessorized’ lists. As Milan is one of the undisputed fashion capitals of the world and Italian high fashion brands are the among the crème de la crème of haute couture, Italian leather too has absorbed many of attributes associated with them. Attributes such as high quality, high fashion and good taste.
A Fendi handbag, a Prada wallet, a Gucci briefcase, a pair of Ferragamo stilettos, an Armani leather jacket, a Cavalli leather skirt- those who know their brands know that these are the ultimate for the high fashion priests and priestesses. Not just for Italian brands, for most luxury brands and designers worldwide, Italian leather is the best leather to recreate their on-paper designs into products that fetch a hefty premium in the market. And when these fashion houses use Italian leather to give shape to their designer clothes, jackets, bags, shoes, wallets, belts and other products, the result is breathtaking design boosted by exclusive quality that makes them objects of desire. Not just haute couture clothing and accessory labels, luxury furniture brands like Natuzzi and exclusive car companies like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati also use Italian leather for upholstering their products. It is a win-win situation for both, the brand and the raw material. They complement each other’s requirement and enhance their individual glories too. Not surprising then that Made in Italy leather goods and accessories are the byword in exclusiveness and feature high up on the ‘must own’ list of high net worth individuals.
Top quality raw material and superb design require one more input – exquisite craftsmanship – to wow the end user. That’s the third field where the ‘Made in Italy’ tag carries much weight. Italy’s reputation as world’s fashion hub is not new. Instead it has been gained over centuries of supplying premium handmade articles to other nations. Italian leather craftsmen (and craftswomen) used to create bespoke leather goods and accessories for royalty and aristocracy worldwide. That illustrious heritage still lives on in the near-perfect craftsmanship that employs modern technology at many steps but ensures that each and every cut, stitch and accesorization is precision redefined.
Italian leather is an outstanding confluence of best leather, best design and best workmanship. Unsurprising then that it is much sought after by those who wish to buy the very best and are willing to pay a premium for it.
High style, flawless finish, impeccable quality, irresistible style and timeless elegance – all these sobriquets float into the mind with many more jostling for space when you talk of 100% Italian pure leather bags i.e. made in Italy from hide tanning to design to manufacturing, and. Ask any high priest of fashion or the diva of the uber chic, and they will tell you without even an iota of hesitation that when it comes to handbags, a genuine ‘Made in Italy’ leather handbag is the only thing worth carrying on your arm whatever the occasion or the time of day.
However if you are curious or simply need more convincing, here’s a look at what makes ‘Made in Italy’ leather handbags the ultimate in attracting oohs and ahs from the style gods and goddesses of the world.
Milan: The Fashion Capital of the World for Handbags and More
Everyone who knows anything about high fashion knows that the Italian city of Milan is one of the big four of global fashion (London, Paris and New York are the other three) and the veritable nerve centre of the designer world. Not surprising when you realize that august brands like Versace, Valentino, Ferragamo, Bottega Veneta, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Cavalli, Fendi, Gucci and Armani are all based in Milan. These are the names that command high premiums for their products including leather handbags. However while Milan is undoubtedly the global fashion hub, do you know where these high fashion gurus source their leather goods from? Let me tell you. Milan may be the showcase but when it comes to leather, the historical city of Florence and the rest of Tuscany which is where Florence is located, are the real hotspots. Yes, top designer brands of the world sources not just leather but manufacturing of leather goods as well from Tuscany, the steeped-in-history region of Italy that’s world’s largest centre for top quality leather processing and manufacturing.
Florence, Tuscany: The Leather Hub for Milan
If you think Florence is mostly about monumental glories of Renaissance art and architecture, you are quite right, of course, but beyond the old masters, piazzas and cathedrals of Florence, there is another thing Florence has been world famous for down the centuries. Yes, you got it right at the first guess; we are talking about real Italian leather. For hundreds of years (and long before Milan rose on the world fashion map), Florence’s tanners, artisans and leather craftsmen were dressing up European royalty. The ‘Made in Italy’ handbags that people the world over covet with such desire are rooted in that timeless tradition that once was the toast of the high aristocracy across Europe. Now of course, their mantle has been inherited by the celebrities with high star power.
Italian Craftsmanship: Unrivaled in finesse
Gucci, Armani, Prada and many more top brands have their leather goods manufacturing facilities in Tuscany is their only place of choice for best quality leatherwork. Under the watchful eyes and painstaking precision of Tuscan leatherworkers, the best quality leather goods are made. Indeed, the quality of work of super skilled Tuscan leather artisans is incomparable. That’s the reason top labels make a beeline for Tuscany either to set up their own production units, or to source from well established business houses of the region.
Made in Italy Leather handbags: Price and worth
In terms of Italian leather handbags, the best things in life are certainly not free nor anywhere in close proximity of budget friendliness. However if were to talk in terms of value for money or worth, real ‘Made in Italy’ handbags are worth every penny you shell out. Yes, spending hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on one genuine article is worth ten (and more) of those bought from elsewhere. Keep a real Italian leather handbag and an imitation from any corner of the world next to each other and you will see why the Italian counterpart is worth its weight in gold and the pretender is nothing but brass, to state it metaphorically.
If you are a penny pincher and a style disaster, a Made in Italy handbag is not for you. However if you love to get best value for your money and care about the impression you create, there is only one type of handbag that should find its way to your wardrobe (and your hands). Yes, you have got it right. You should be the proud owner of a 100% Made in Italy handbag.