What's the Difference Between Vegetable Tanned and Vegan Leather?

What is Vegetable Tanned Leather?

Vegetable tanned leather is one of the earliest methods of preserving hides for leather use. This ancient tanning process uses plant-based matter like tree bark, leaves and nuts and takes between 1-3 months for each hide to develop. It leaves every hide in its most natural or raw state, without any chemical or dye added. Our leather is sourced from Hermann Oak Tannery, one of the last remaining tanneries in America. Learn more how this leather is made here


Where do the hides come from? 

Hermann Oak Tannery uses hides that are a byproduct of the American meat industry. Animals are not harmed for the use of their hide, rather, hides are salvaged for a second-use as a result of meat consumption.



How is this different from Chromium Leather? 

Chromium leather has gained popularity in recent decades and become more popular than vegetable tanned leather. It takes a day to tan this leather, using chrome and petroleum-based chemicals that result in a leather that may be cheaper to process, and has the benefits of being more water and stain resistent. However, due to its harmful processing, it no longer safe to produce chromium leathers in America. Vegetable tanned leather is a slower but more natural process that results in a more natural or raw material. 



What is Vegan Leather? 

Vegan leather has become increasingly popular in recent years. It does not involve any animals in its processing, and with modern developments can be made using apples, pineapples, mushrooms, coconut, or soy. It is vegan, cruelty free, lightweight, and also made with plastic. In order to bind together the chosen platform, either PU (polyurethane) or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is typically used. It also known as faux or synthetic leather. It is man-made, cheaper to produce, and is an animal-friendly alternative to leather. It does not have the longevity or durability of a natural leather. 


What is the difference between Vegan and Vegetable Tanned Leather?

Vegetable tanned leather is a cow hide that has been processed using all-natural plant matter resulting in an organic, sustainable material. Vegan leather makes use some kind of plant matter (like pinapple or coconut or apple) as well as plastic (PU) or (PVC) binding agents in it's processing. Most vegan or faux leather is actually reliant on polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is made from petroleum.While it may use"recycled" plastics and claims no harm or animal cruelty, many human and animal lives may impacted by the consumption of the effects of this original plastic use.

In sum, vegetable tanned leather involves animals (but is all natural) and vegan leather involves no animals (but is not all natural making use of petroleum plastic matter). 


How to Care For Vegetable Tanned Leather 

Vegetable tanned leather may be conditioned using pure neatsfoot oil or a combination wax/oil conditioner such as Obenhauf's. Oiling should be done with a fine-fibered cloth, sheepskin, or horsehair brush using even circular strokes. Please remember a little oil goes a long way. Other signs your leather needs to be oiled include: cracking of the leather, brittle or dry leather grain to touch, or overexposure to water.


Aging Process

Vegetable tanned leather will develop a unique patina with age, use, and exposure to oil, water or sunlight. Vegan leather will not change in any way, and we do not know much about it's longetivity or durability over time. 


 Fun Tip

Vegetable tanned leather develops a unique patina over time. Vegan leather will not. 

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