Elegance, durability and quality: these are the hallmarks of Italian leather products, a reputation established over centuries. When you hear ‘Italian leather’, you rest easy; you know the product is worth its price.
And with good reason, because the techniques used to make that leather have been honed by generations of Italian families. Their methods are closely-guarded, often protected by societies only formed to keep these secrets. Today, almost seventy per cent of the leather produced in Europe is Italian, the outcome of years of perfection, meticulous handiwork and superior quality. At Ekster, we wanted to be part of this. That's why we just released the limited edition Vachetta Collection.
One of our founders, Olivier Momma, spent his entire childhood in Italy, and has always felt drawn to the country’s culture. Italian leather’s stellar reputation and our team's fascination with the impressive craftsmanship led us to dream of a new line of products, made with stunning Italian leather. This same passion took us to the leather capital of Italy, eventually leading to the release of our limited edition Ekster Vachetta Collection.
A TRIP TO SANTA CROCE
Within Italy, the highest quality leather is produced in Santa Croce, Tuscany - the world’s most reputed leather manufacturer. We planned a visit during the leather carnival in February to truly understand Italian artisanship and leather production on a much deeper level. We were impressed by what we saw. The resilience, supple nature, and varied range of colors offered were perfect for Ekster and our new dream-collection. The attention to detail at every stage of leather production was inspiring, to say the least. Not only are the raw materials of superior quality, but the Italians have a unique understanding of the tanning process. They’re passionate about their product; it's easy to see this leather is made with love and perfectionism. This is exactly what we needed to be sure that we made the right decision.
Santa Croce thrives on leather production today. But in the middle of the 18th century, it was quite a poor town relying on inadequate agriculture. It was only at the beginning of the 19th century that this town started to gain recognition for leather tanning. What makes this leather stand out is the natural tanning methods adopted by the Italians. They use vegetable tanning, which ensures exceptional quality and versatility. But what makes Italian leather more superior than the leather produced by vegetable tanning in other places?
We found the answer to this question after visiting the tanneries in Tuscany. One of our other founders, Rick Scharnigg, noticed several differences which set Italian leather apart. He observed that ‘the tanneries in Italy were different to the others I’ve been to and quite frankly I was taken aback. There isn’t one single facility that carries out the entire tanning process. An Italian tannery consists of specialists that bring out the best outcome at different stages of the tanning process. Small companies compete against each other in order to be the one that specialises, so that each of them is best in their field. The cowhides move from one specialist to the other to receive the best possible treatment at every stage.’
Our time in the tanneries at Santa Croce helped us to decide that our new line would consist of wallets made from the prestigious Vachetta, an Italian premium leather. What makes Vachetta leather so unique is that it’s completely untreated; it uses no chemical protectors or moisturizing oils. This gives it a soft and smooth appearance.
Made from a bull’s shoulder, Vachetta leather ages beautifully and durably. While this kind of leather is prone to stains because of the lack of protectors, it is distinctive because of a process known as ‘patina’. The leather starts off as a light beige color and becomes darker over time as it’s exposed to sunlight. This naturally tanned leather will ensure that as time passes, no two Ekster Wallets will look the same.
A wide variety of available finishes meant we had our work cut out for us. It wasn’t easy to pick, but we finally decided on three immaculate finishes for our Vachetta Collection: Torino Tan, Bologna Black, Brescia Bronze. Named after iconic Italian towns, these three finishes offer fantastic quality combined with affordable prices.
The sleek nature combined with the soft Vachetta leather gives this new line of Ekster Wallets a spectacular appeal. The Torino Tan features a bright catchy beige that will transform into a unique darker shade over time thanks to the ‘patina’ process.
The Bologna Black is a classic black leather, perfect for those who want to keep it simple but cultured. The difference between this and the black Parliament is the smoothness in the texture and aging of the leather.
The Brescia Bronze will also get darker with time to obtain a color that is distinctive to only your wallet. Named after the city of Brescia, the obtained color will mimic the brown roofs on the iconic little houses of the city.
Our mission has always been to create the perfect wallet, and to do that, we’ve seamlessly integrated modern technology with classic leather. But we’re hungry for improvement, and that means we’re always on the hunt for the next best wallet. Each wallet in this collection is lovingly and painstakingly handcrafted to perfection. The Vachetta Collection is a premium, limited edition collection for which Ekster will only release 300 wallets for each finish. Be the first (and few) to get yours here.