Leather work, leather goods...We are going to try to explain all the mysteries of this ancient technic.
Leatherwork is about the transformation of leather to craft clothes or objects (bags, wallets...). It was born with the first technics of animals' skin transformation during ancient Egypt. Today, we associate leatherwork with luxury brand such as Louis Vuitton, Hermès...
A little story of French leatherwork
Initially, the word leatherwork in French - "maroquinerie" - comes from the name of a special goat leather transformed in Morocco. It has been first used to craft basic ustensiles, before becoming, during the Middle Age, a sign of wealth and prosperity. With the expansion of the use of leather - clothes, bags, shoes, saddles... - the "Manufacture Royale du Cuir" is created in 1749.
Small leather goods industryPetite maroquinerie et portefeuille
It is after the Napoleonic wars, in the XIXth century, that the word "maroquinerie" is used to described the industrial transformation of leather, specially oriented towards the making of wallets and not only luxury goods. In the XXth century, the word "petite maroquinerie" - small leatherwork industry - appears. It is specifically about the confection of fashion accessories made of leather, instead of bags and clothes. We can now find many products that are part of this "petite maroquinerie": wallets, cases, briefcases...
Before using the leather, the animal skin has to be treated and prepared. In can be bathed in mineral elements (chrome, iron) or vegetal ones. Then, the leather is prepared regarding the use that it is dedicated to: we find some grain leather (very smooth and resistant), some split leather (with more grain, less resistant)…
French leatherwork industry nowadays
Traditionally assimilated to luxury goods, leatherwork is part of French tradition and history. It has been promoted by famous brands but today, many small leather goods workshops are reviving, based on local sourcing and circuit-court fabrication. They have been our main partners when we designed the Cardiem's leather collection. We are still working with the same firm, Nous travaillons toujours avec le même atelier depuis notre existence, SDC Maroquinerie, in Roanne, specialized in branding leather goods and empowering small creators.