Wednesday, April 14, 2010

An Authentic Vintager Lesson

There are two types of pieces that can be found in a Leather Vintager’s collection.

1. Personal Vintage- These are well crafted, full grained leather pieces bought new and built to last. They start as the blank canvases of your own journey and, over time, as you carry them or wear them, where ever you go, they become your personalised treasure.
2. Secondhand or Historic Vintage- These are second hand bought or inherited leather pieces where someone else has done the job of aging or wearing it in for you. These pieces are filled with the stories and experiences of other people’s journeys, some of them historic which gives them a different kind of value especially if you are familiar with the details.

There is another category of vintage leather which I do not consider an authentic part of a Leather Vintager’s collection and that is artificially aged leather. This is a process where manufacturers inject chemicals and treat the leather to give it that ‘distressed’ look and making it seem ten or twenty years old when in the meantime it just came off the factory floor.

I bought myself one of these bags from a cool brand called Tough. Its a stunning looking bag that immediately got compliments from the time I walked out of the shop with it. I was a little perplexed at first and asked people why they liked the bag so much; I received the same answer: ‘because it looks like you’ve had that bag forever, it has such character!’ The compliments were not that gratifying to me, the bag was not old at all and it’s fake character was created by the manufacturers which to their credit had done an extremely good job, but it was still a lie.

After a year of use the leather on the bag has began to perish, the Vintager gods were clearly not impressed. I was not happy either that this Tough bag was not so tough after all. I took it in for repairs and now a year later it will need to be repaired again, straps are coming apart, the leather is turning to powder in spots and soon I will not be able to use the bag any longer; I am pissed to say the least. I was taken in by the instant gratification of having a beautiful ‘vintage’ bag off the shelf, not realizing that it would have a ridiculously short life span. Its really disappointing to watch something you really like disintegrate right in front of you. Of course I will never buy something like that again, it is not the way of the Vintager; lesson learnt.

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