A lot of people I meet, when they find out what I do, ask “Is it possible to get a belt that lasts over 6 months?”
The quick answer is “Yes.” The slightly longer answer is “Yep – check out https://www.karakaleather.co.nz/product-category/belts/!”
If, however, I have a whiskey in hand and I feel like talking to the aforementioned person, the conversation gets a little more complicated!
You see, from this simple, innocuous conversation starter we can delve right into the topic of the ‘Leather Industry vs. the Fashion Industry’. If you pop down to the new Westfield Newmarket of a Saturday morning, you will have quite literally hundreds of options of shiny new belt. They look very smart, don’t they? Shiny leather, embossed patterns and perfect stitched edges. “Genuine Leather!” they cry in a carefully chosen serif font.
It is one of the great sins (and there are many) of the fashion industry, they way the appellation ‘Genuine Leather’ is bandied about. Let me let you in on a little secret. Yes, if it is marked “Genuine Leather’ is is made, mostly, from the tanned skin of some sort of animal. That’s it. The hide is split, the ‘grain’ of the leather is embossed. Sometimes (actually, often), the best part of the leather, the full grain, is taken away. The leftovers are then processed, stamped, and glued into a fashion accessory. This is then sold for $119.99 or thereabouts in the latest fashion outlet. (It costs them about $5.00 to make it.)
The highly processed, very pretty ‘leather’ of the new belt looks good! For about a month. Cracks start to appear… the artificial shine wears off.
“Yes!” Says my now thoroughly bored partner in conversation. “But what do I buy? What lasts these days?”
Here is the secret. You ready?
Look for a belt that is ‘full grain leather’. Not top grain, not genuine leather – Full Grain Leather. This means that it is made from the top part of the hide of the animal. The part of this hide with the closest, densest fibres, the part that protects the animal. It won’t be sanded, polished or split. It will last a lifetime if cared for. This belt will not be patent leather, it will not have an exotic shine. But it will last. And that is what most people want from the one item of clothing that is standing between them and a trouser-round-the-ankle embarrassment!
Yes, you can buy them from us here at Karaka Leather, and to be fair, some fashion retailers stock them too. But be careful… don’t let the shine of a processed leather cloud your judgement.
A bit of a rant there sorry. But that’s why I’m in the leather game – I love the stuff. Don’t mess with leather.
Until next time,