Iutta's Stories

How It’s Made: Leather and its History

December 20, 2018

A few weeks ago we were thinking of the ancient Cucuteni civilization that inspired the NEO collection, when our thoughts went involuntarily from the symbols of this lost civilization – the spiral, the labyrinth, the mother goddess – to how these symbols were transposed into everyday life . They were painted on to ceramic pots and other decorative pieces, carved in tools and, most of all, embroidered on garments. Because we can never talk as much as we would like – we know the Iutta lovers are always on the go- we have decided to keep this thought for another time. And now that we are in between celebrations, waiting for Santa Claus and New Year’s parties, we wanted to tell you about an element that we sometimes forget about, distracted by mystical embroideries.

The symbols used by Iutta are, indeed, of deep significance meant to accompany the carriers like talismans, but embroideries can not exist, no matter how beautiful they are, without the fine leather that sustains them, just as a painting would be just paint in the absence of a canvas. With a few exceptions, such as the Summer Well collection, all Iutta products are made of natural calf leather, dyed with high quality pigments that offer vibrant colors that do not lose their charm with time but only gain in character.

Since prehistoric times, people have been wearing animal skins to protect themselves from the environment. Natural fur has always been an essential part of clothing because it is thermally insulating, and its fibers – whether we talking about wool or heavy furs such as fox, vison or chinchilla – are covered with natural oils that reject moisture and water. Later, people domesticated animals like sheep and developed processing techniques to make skins easier to use in the production of clothing, tools and other useful items. Historians approximate the year to be 2200 BC  when people began to treat the skins with vegetable substances and experiment with various methods of boiling them in order to improve their natural qualities.

In conclusion, we have about 4000 years of practice in leather production. Even in recent decades, after the introduction of synthetic fabrics and imitations whose production is much faster and cheaper, natural leather has never lost its importance in the industry. Besides the fact that the final material is of much higher quality, more durable and with a more pleasant look, natural leather objects encourage us to say “no” to fast-fashion products (often made from synthetic alternatives to keep a low price and a quick production) and invest in something done with care and soul. Due to the fact that natural leather changes its appearance over time, gaining special nuances and signs that define the person who wore it everyday, those who choose this material can wear it for a much longer period of time, reducing the risk of becoming a simple consumer without discernment. Not to mention the fact that it takes about 30 years for leather to biodegrade, unlike synthetic petroleum based materials that will affect the environment for at least 500 years.

These are the principles that inspire us at Iutta when choosing materials for bags, shoes and other accessories. The skin itself must come from a certified supplier, undergo a particularly rigorous quality control and be processed through environmentally friendly methods (for example, tanned leather that avoids chemicals such as chrome or aluminum). Because we have a relatively small production, we do not order materials in bulk, which allows us to discern between suppliers, but it also implies that two bags will never be exactly the same, since they are hand-made.

And that brings us to the last steps, the embroidery and the assembly of the products. In our workshop in Bucharest, we hide craftsmen with experience in working with delicate materials, experience that has been gathered over many years, and the result is easy to see in their steady hands. Iutta embroideries, full of meaning, would have stayed just a fairytale without the help of our artisans. Now they become a talisman of the contemporary woman who has not forgotten her roots. To avoid damaging these longings, it is recommended that the products be stored in a box when not worn, away from direct exposure to light and contact with water, and to clean them carefully with a wet cloth, without the use of aggressive chemicals.

Discover the Magpie bag here!

What about you, Iutta lovers, how to you take care of your longings?



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