Leather: Horsehide Tanneries Viva Italia

Part of the process of developing my jacket lines is to search out the most authentic original materials I can find to recreate the footsteps of my ancestors.  The leather jacket makers of the past searched out the best materials, animals, skins, tanners, zippers, buttons, sewers and threads to make jackets that would look better, perform better, out last, and hopefully outprice, their competitors.  The issues were never purely price driven.  These great companies are only recognized and collected today because the jackets and products they made are still around and were made to stand the test of time.  There are so few sources of products worthy of manufacturing jackets in the “old way”  I have been ordering leather, and working with tanneries globally to buy some of the best veg. tanned horsehide on the planet.  My horsehides come from several sources in Japan, North America and now Italy.

There is a method to this madness of ordering hides from different tanneries.  Firstly it can take up to a year to produce vegetable tanned horsehide.  I can’t just run down to the corner store and order it up on demand! Secondly, each tannery is kind of like a winery.  They use different horses, different tannages, different oils and subtly different techniques to make their hides.  Like wine, hides come out with slightly different characteristics from each tannery, different tempers, different finishes and different feels.  While it is popular to focus on one brand or another these days, I can assure you that focusing on one tannery is like only drinking one brand of wine, it might be good but variety is the spice of life! I can’t and don’t just call up and order leather.  I work very hard to experiment with tannages, bating and finishes to come up with the most authentic and best “feel” of leather possible.  I have been working on buffalo, goat and horsehide.

I just got new horsehide in from Italy.  It is beautiful, a very vintage style hide on the “drier” side of vegetable tanning with a very nice hand.  The leather has a papery crust with a really nice dark rich black brown finish and a two colour analine dye finish.  This leather is absolutely lovely.  It is also very very authentic to early 1930s sporting leathers that were veg. tanned. Jacket samples will be coming soon!



Under the Skin: What, Why and Quality
New Jackets: Oil Skin Avro and Brimaco



  2. Bryan De Lesdernier
    July 20, 2011 - 4:27 PM

    I am looking for a tannery to make a one time purchase
    of vegetable tanned horse hide for a project.

    Chicago Horween Cordovan shells are too small
    and expensive. Can you direct me to a tannery
    that may be able to provide.

    thank you for your time,

    Bryan De Lesdernier

  3. you might want to try leather brokers…like Mitch Alfus of NYC…his company would be able to track down smaller quantities of leather for you from a tannery

  4. I would like to find a source for high-quality vegetable-tanned horsehide. Can you put me in touch with your source in Italy? Or anywhere else, for that matter. I’m a holster maker.

  5. of course I could help you out I will email you my agents name in NYC

  6. We produce goodyear welted system for men’s dress shoes, and looking for horse leather / shell cordovan.
    Please inform your quotation.

  7. I do not sell leather, i buy it

  8. Your goods and the hides and workmanship look to be simply amazing – bravo to you!

    You and Japanese know the goods when you see it and Italy and France seem to be the best places to source from. I was searching for true, full-veg tanned horsehide from tanneries in Italy and Japan on the internet and found your link here. Could you be so kind as to put me in touch with any of the tanneries you work with in the aforementioned countries? I’m looking to find better leather than we currently use from Horween in the USA and Devonia in the UK for the seating cushions of WWII vehicles we restore, as displayed by museums and enjoyed collectors worldwide. These seat cushions, seat backs and head rests use the same caliber of horsehide as employed in the original production of USAAF flying jackets. Interestingly, they are also stuffed with horse hair for the cushioning!

    Any assistance would be heartily appreciated and your time will be compensated as you may ask.


  9. pls i am looking for tannary job here in,i live here in italy and this is my number 3289472659

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