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How to get a sample of your colour

We’ve put together a list of options to help you get a colour sample.

The ideal sample size

The ideal sample is 15cm x 15cm but we know that’s not always possible. It should, however, be no smaller than 5cm x 5cm. It doesn’t have to be a square but we do need an area to test the colour as we mix. If your sample is very small, call us to discuss before proceeding with an order.

Old leather, new leather

Aged leather upholstery can display more than one colour due to UV fading, stains and wear. Unused areas usually reflect the original colour. They may no longer match high traffic areas such as seat cushions which have been extensively used.  Where possible, try to obtain a representative sample that matches the main areas of your project.

8 Ways to find a sample

Ask the Manufacturer or Retailer

Call the maker or drop into the store and ask if they can supply a colour swatch. Some may have samples they can post to you or allow you to borrow.

Snip a piece from the underside

If you want to work on a piece of furniture and need a colour sample, turn it onto its side and remove a few staples from the dust cover at the base. Look under the dust cover to see if there is a margin of leather to the inside of the staples. If there is, snip the largest possible section then restaple the dust cover back into position.

A matching Dulux colour

From the enormous range of Dulux colours, look for the one that matches your leather colour. Email the name of the colour and the code if you have it. If you find the colour you need in another brand, send us 3 swatches in the post as we may not be able to get them.

A detachable component

You can’t send us a sofa in the post but you can send a cushion cover or a detachable headrest or footrest. In cars, look for plastic parts that are the same colour as the leather seats or consider sending the headrest. Also, check under the seats for excess material from which to cut a sample. Although it is rare for parcels to be lost, we strongly recommend you fully insure your shipment for replacement value.

Buy a scatter cushion

If your colour is still current, you may be able to purchase a scatter cushion from the retailer. This will give you a new sample of the colour that you can post to us for matching. It also gets you a new scatter cushion!

The sample provided with your receipt

Often, retailers provide a leather swatch when you make your purchase. Find your original receipt and you may just find the sample. Alternatively, samples are sometimes stitched into the lounge under the seat cushions. If the cushions are loose, lift them to see if there’s a sample hiding there.

Ask a leather merchant

In most major cities there are leather merchants and wholesalers that supply leather to trades and consumers for upholstery, craft, shoe-making, accessories and a myriad of other purposes. It may be worth running your colour specifications by them to see if they can provide you with a useful off-cut.

Emailed photos are not as reliable

It would be wonderful if photos provided reliably accurate colour representation but they don’t. Colours can change depending on light, exposure, saturation and other factors. Computer screens can also greatly distort colour. We do mix colours from photos in situations where there’s no alternative. Accuracy cannot be guaranteed with this method.

Make life easy for yourself

There are circumstances when a close colour will suffice. Sometimes, the smart money is on recolouring the whole sofa or car seat, rather than attempting a small touch-up. When you recolour in full, you can change the colour all together. If the colour was matched from a photo and isn’t completely accurate, it’s unlikely to matter if you recolour the entire surface.

Conversely, when doing isolated touch-ups, results are much better if the colour match is true and accurate. If the colour is not perfect, the repaired area may be detectable. If the armchair you are restoring is a solo feature chair, a new or slightly different colour won’t matter. If it’s part of a 3 piece suite, a good match is likely to be preferable.

As professionals, we often restore the entire piece. It always gives the most cohesive and complete result. A well-executed isolated repair can work perfectly well but the freshly repaired area may still stand out – even with accurately matched colour and finish. That’s because it looks ‘like-new’ whilst the surrounding areas are still soiled, stained, abraded and worn. Even a subtly aged surface can be noticeable against a completely refinished area.

Each job is different. Our best tip is to consider the priorities of your job.

  • If you need colour accuracy, find a sample
  • If you want the most cohesive result, give the entire surface a makeover
  • If you can be flexible in terms of colour, send us a photo and we’ll send you a colour that’s similar

What doesn’t work

Unfortunately, we can’t mix colours from codes. Read on.

Colour codes cannot be used

Unfortunately, OEM codes, manufacturer colour names and serial numbers are of no use as there’s no comprehensive database of cross-referenced colour ‘recipes’ available. There are many makers of leather finishing products, many tanneries and many techniques used to create leather. Each maker uses its own materials and formulations. There are literally millions of different colours in use, currently and historically, across the various industries using leather.

Leather Hero after-market colourants are universal and each colour is mixed from a base range of 15 colours. With a sample in hand, we can match most colours.

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The Difference Between Leather Dye, Paint and Stain

There’s not one leather nor one leather finish. Like all industries, the world of leather has its own vocabulary and terminology. Sometimes those terms become incorrectly homogenised in the marketplace. When it comes shopping for DIY products, there’s one common misnomer to understand and avoid.

The word ‘dye’ is often incorrectly used as a catch-all for leather colourants and methods of all types. In fact, dyes are one type of colourant with specific application methods and they are suitable for some but not all leather types. For example, you would rarely use dye on car seats; you would use paints, otherwise known as ‘pigments’.  Paints/pigments are often falsely marketed as dyes and that’s not really a big deal so long as you end up with the right product for your job.

When it comes to repairing, restoration and recolouring, great results start with the correct products and techniques for the particular leather type. Dyes, stains and paints, pigments, colour restoration creams and vinyl finishes are just some of the options.

Beautiful waxed leather

Dyes and Stains

Dye, also referred to as aniline dye, is the concentrated form whilst stain is the ready-to-use version of dye. When it comes to upholstery leather restoration, stains are most commonly used as dyes are, in most cases, too intensely coloured for restoration purposes. Both penetrate the fibrous structure of leather making a chemical bond. Once dyed, leather cannot be un-dyed. Dying makes the leather darker in colour and cannot be used to make it lighter. In some instances, dye transference is a possibility unless sealed with a topcoat.

Aesthetically, dyes and stains add translucent colour that allows the natural characteristics of the leather to show. As dye goes into leather, it adds no surface coating. This allows the luxurious warm feel or ‘hand’ to remain unchanged.

Leather Stain is translucent and cannot fully cover stains
Leather Paint is opaque and can be mixed to create endless colour options

Dyes are not highly UV stable and are, therefore, prone to fading. Where possible, protecting dyed leather from direct light helps to slow this process. Leather Hero’s Protect (No.3) contains a UV barrier that helps to minimise fading.

Dyed leather can be ‘unfinished’ meaning that it has no surface coating. Semi-aniline leathers are lightly coated with pigments and/or polyurethane topcoats. Nubuck and suede are also unfinished leathers with a slight nap that gives a velvety soft plush feel. Unfinished leathers are drum-dyed during the tanning process. They are soaked and tumbled in large vats of aniline dye. As a result, the dye penetrates right through the fibres. If the rear side of your leather is the same colour as the top side, it is likely, dyed.

Paints or Pigments

‘Pigment’ is the industry term for leather paint. Pigment does not penetrate, but rather remains on the surface and forms a physical bond. It has an opaque finish which makes it useful for covering imperfections, stains and discolouration.

Pigments tend to be UV stable which makes them preferable for use in cars and in sun-drenched homes. The addition of layers of acrylic coatings lends protection to leather. Most soiling and marks can easily be cleaned and permanent stains can be visually eliminated via recolouring.

Pigments can be applied in a variety of ways to produce different finishes. The most common finish is one solid colour; think of a white or stone coloured sofa or light pink handbag. By layering an accent colour over a base colour, antique and faux-aniline effects can be achieved.

The purple paint on this car seat was mostly removed by cleaning
The area was refinished with leather paint to cover the remaining stains

Leather Paint Colours

Leather paints are acrylic-based coatings created specifically for application on leather and man-made imitation leather. They are formulated to be flexible, hard-wearing and to resist peeling and cracking. Mixable, water-based and non-toxic, professional leather paints are chroma rich and designed to produce a refined factory finish.

Colour options are endless. That’s why Leather Hero offers an extensive range of pre-mixed and popular furniture and car colours as well as a core range of master colours.

Vinyl

Dyes and stains cannot be used on vinyl (unless blended with pigments). The upper layer of this man-made material is essentially plastic. It can be refinished with vinyl or leather paint. As it is less porous than leather, the physical bond may not be as enduring as it is with leather. Vinyl paint is applied by spray whilst leather paint may be sprayed or hand-rubbed.

This motor yacht captains seat is difficult to remove so on-board restoration with leather pigments offered the ideal solution

FAQs

How are dyes and stains applied?

Dyes and stains can be applied by sponge, dauber, cloth, brush or spray gun

How are leather paints applied?

Leather paints can be applied by sponge, brush or spray gun

Can leather paints and leather dyes be mixed?

Yes. A small percentage of leather dye mixed into leather paint produces a paint that gives a semi-aniline effect

Are most cars seats dyed or pigmented?

Most cars seats are finished with leather pigments/paints – not dyes or stains

Are all brown sofas aniline or semi-aniline?

No. Lots of tan and brown coloured sofas are aniline or semi-aniline but many are painted. Shades of stone, caramel, putty and chocolate tend to be pigmented

Do dyes and stains only come in shades of brown?

No, they are also available in a variety of of other colours such as blue, green, red, yellow and ochre. They can be mixed to create unique colours such as oxblood and olive

Can leather paint and dye be used creatively to make art and design?

Yes! You can let your imagination go wild and use leather dyes and paints to embellish leather apparel, footwear and many other leather and vinyl items

Get creative!

If you can paint it on paper or canvas, you can paint it on leather using pro-grade leather paints. Imagine a truly bespoke hand-painted leather jacket or customised trainers, a decorated purse or even a set of vintage industrial bar stools creatively embellished. The only limit is your imagination.

Know your leather

Before starting a repair or restoration project, it’s important to know what type of leather you have. Common types include aniline, semi-aniline, nubuck, suede, pigmented or vinyl. Using the right type of colourant and finish is critical to achieving a satisfying result.

Leather Hero dyes, stains and paints are safe, easy to use and with correct application and aftercare, they offer lasting results.

Need help?

If you are looking for a leather product and need help, Contact Us.

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How to Clean Leather

The renowned luxury of leather is undeniable. When it’s not clean, that luxury fades and the experience of using it is greatly diminished. Soiled leather becomes clogged with contaminants that damage the structure and compromise the coatings, eventually leading to dry, greasy, peeling and ripped leather. Leather care is something you want to get right. It’s a relatively expensive material when compared to man-made options and using the wrong approach can have swift or delayed and disastrous results.

First, What Not To Use

Skip the ’clever hacks’ and the ‘all-natural’ home-made recipes you find on the internet. They are ill-informed and the risks are real. We’ve seen beautiful Italian leather destroyed when toothpaste was used to remove mould – as suggested by an online blog. Also, give a wide birth to household cleaners. We’ve seen many sofas ruined – rips, flaking coatings and stripped colour – from the use of the wrong type of cleaner such as cream cleansers, cleaning wipes, oils and other unsuitable chemicals. Your leather deserves better than supermarket grade leather care and although the kit you purchased with the sofa from the furniture store may do no harm, it might not have much cleaning grunt.

Bring in the Professionals

If you clean and maintain your leather furniture once every 3 months or so using the right products and methods, you’ve got this. Put your feet up, it’s time to relax. If you don’t, you may need the help of a trained leather technician.

Companies that specialise in leather care and restoration are experts with unique skills and knowledge. They are best placed to provide the thorough, correct and results-driven services you need. All too often, we encounter customers who complain that they were disappointed with the results of their last service. When we ask if they used a dedicated leather care company, the answer is most typically ‘no’.

Our tip; stick with the people who can address colour and finish problems, identify the leather type and select the right cleaner and technique rather than the one-size-fits-all approach you might find elsewhere. The cost of a quick, cheap or incorrect service can prove expensive in the long run.

Customers also tell us that they weren’t sure what to do to maintain their leather lounge so they did nothing. There’s no doubt that DIY done wrong can be a source of regret. So, how do the pros clean leather?

Success lies in the use of the right products, accessories and method.

The Right Products

Good leather care involves 3 steps; cleaning, conditioning and a protective anti-soiling barrier often referred to as leather protection treatment

Cleaning

The ideal cleaner is strong enough to lift dirt yet mild enough to avoid damaging the coatings or the leather.

Leather cleaning needs to balance short term results against long term effects

A professional-grade pH neutral general maintenance leather cleaner is ideal for everyday cleaning. It should be formulated specifically for leather, water-based, non-sudsing, non-greasy, non-abrasive, non-toxic and easy to use. With regular use, a good cleaner controls soiling and makes light work of maintaining your leather.

There are a few products you’ll never see a professional use. Abrasive cleaners are close to the top of that list. Many people have turned to them in an emergency to make quick work of an ink or red wine stain – but with disastrous results. They not only cut through the stain but the manufacturer’s coatings as well. Harsh and drying, they inevitably lead to rips and tears. Oily cleaners can leave a greasy, dust-collecting finish and detergents require too much water to rinse. Essential oils and strong solvent cleaners can react with the coatings causing tackiness or can dissolve the finish completely.

For the structural health of your leather, a pH neutral solution is best. Other cleaners can leave leather dry or greasy leading to cracking, peeling, rips or rotting.

Pros Know Leather

As there are a few main types of leather in use today, there are leather care products tailored to their requirements. What works on a pigmented lounge may be unsuitable for a suede handbag so it’s important to consider the type of leather before selecting a cleaner and conditioner.

The wrong conditioner

Imagine the owner’s dismay to see these white marks appear as he applied a respected household name conditioner on a favourite leather jacket. The conditioner is perfect for boots but not appropriate for unfinished apparel leather. We extracted the wax and applied a conditioner designed for anilines.

The Right Accessories

To get a great result you may be surprised to learn that most professionals use a scrubbing brush and some microfibre cloths.

When it comes to leather cleaning, you want to strike a balance between using gear that makes light work of the job and not damaging your leather. Gentle is best.

Look for a bristle brush similar to a nail scrubbing brush or a standard domestic cleaning brush. The bristles should not be too hard or inflexible. A light circular motion is usually ideal for agitating the dirt from the grain.

An absorbent microfibre cloth is perfect for wiping away the dirt. After cleaning, especially if the leather was very soiled, your technician may rinse the cloth or use a fresh damp cloth to wipe over the surface to ‘rinse’ before applying the conditioner.

Some accessories are in the toolbox but it’s important to use them with discretion. For the most part, we avoid magic erazers as they are deceivingly abrasive. They can quickly cut through the clear topcoat which can rapidly advance the normal aging process. If recolouring, however, and there’s an ink stain to remove first, a magic erazer can help. For most pros, these effective white sponges would not be the go-to solution for marks unless they intend to replace the abraided coatings with new ones.

Similarly, when it comes to cleaning leather, kitchen scourers can be overkill – unless refinishing (recolouring) is in the plan. They are usually less abrasive than magic sponges and when new, tend to be more abrasive than a scrubbing brush. Using steam to clean a leather sofa can be risky. To much heat and water can cause irreversible damage. Whilst steam kills germs and can dislodge some soiling, nothing does as good or safe a job as hand detailing.

Nothing does as good or safe a job as hand detailing

Leather Care Accessory Pack 4 Piece - Leather Hero
Simple accessories get the job done

Technique: Scrubbing ‘v’ Rubbing

The leather care industry is unanimous in its advice: Do Not Rub! A standard bristle brush helps to gently agitate soiling from the grain of the leather. We start gently, watching for any unwanted change in the finish. Extra care is needed when working on vintage sofas such as Chesterfields. The coatings may be unstable and simple cleaning can remove colour and finish. On most leathers, moderate scrubbing is safe and effective. In contrast, rubbing with firm force using a cloth clad finger or fist can be far more abrasive.

A few seconds of determined rubbing to remove a mark can result in the finish being stripped and an unwanted ‘bald patch’

The mark is gone and so is the finish. This was done using a cream cleanser and rubbing

Conditioning

After cleaning, to prevent drying and stiffening the professionals apply a non-greasy, non-shiny, non-darkening breathable leather conditioner. A good conditioner is penetrating so that it can be absorbed into the fibrous structure where it lubricates and moisturises. With regular use, this helps to promote suppleness and softness.

For most apparel, furniture and car applications, conditioners that are heavy in beeswax or oil are less appropriate as they may clog the pores, attract vermin or rot the fibres. Rich, waxy products can be ideal for achieving a high shine on a pair of boots or for a waxed leather lounge but care is needed before applying them to anilines or pigmented leather. Nubuck, suede and aniline leathers are highly porous. A conditioner that is rich in waxes or oils may cause darkening or leave white waxy marks. Your leather professional carries a range of conditioners and can identify the right one for your leather.

Protecting

The last step towards beautiful leather is an invisible, anti-soiling, breathable shield to help keep your leather clean for longer. Helping to protect the leather from the uptake of spills, grease, transferred dye and stains, it’s a smart inclusion if you want to make light work of maintaining your upholstery.

Do It Yourself

A professional service every couple of years ensures your furniture has the best chance of looking great over many years. In between those services, you can clean and maintain the look and feel using Leather Hero’s professional-grade Leather Care Kit. It has the gear you need to clean, condition and protect your car, boat, office and home furnishings. Best suited to pigmented or ‘painted’ leather, you can trust that it will get the job safely and beautifully.

The essential combo that makes leather look amazing and last longer

There are many leather finishes and qualities so regardless of the instructions on the pack, it’s important to test and observe how your leather responds before proceeding with a full service. With wear and tear, topcoats can wear very thin. If you think the original topcoat has eroded because the colour is wearing away, it’s time to replace it. Leather Hero Topcoat (No.7) is quick and easy to apply and is best used in conjunction with the rest of the refinishing system.

If you have unfinished leather, the Leather Hero Nubuck, Suede and Aniline Kit will take care of it. Designed to gently clean and nourish without changing the natural appearance of this special type of leather. Unfinished leathers stain easily. Keep this kit on hand to quickly address new spills before stains are formed.

Nubuck, Suede & Aniline Care Kit with accessories- Leather Hero
The right solution for Nubuck, Suede and Aniline leathers

Waxed pull-up style leathers are very popular. They offer relaxed sophistication and age gracefully, especially when maintained with a gentle leather cleaner and rich waxy conditioner such as Leather Hero’s Waxy Care Kit.

You can restore a luxurious vintage glow to waxed leather with this buffable conditioner

When It’s Time To Recolour

If you have decided to recolour your leather, a stronger cleaner is needed. Spot & Prep (No.4) by Leather Hero has the power to remove waxes, silicones, heavy soiling, marks and surface grease. A thoroughly clean and prepared surface is key to a lasting leather finish.

Leather Spot Remover & Surface Prep 1L - Leather Hero
Before colouring it’s important to prepare the surface correctly using Leather Hero’s Spot & Prep (No.4)

Out Damned Spot

Before selecting leather care products, it’s a good idea to know your leather type and the issue you want to resolve.

Dirty

Pigmented leather
Surface soiling can be cleaned as shown in this half and half pic.

If the soiling and marks are on the surface of the leather or leather coatings, it’s dirty. This type of soiling cleans up well with a good leather cleaner such as Cleanse (No.1) or Spot & Prep (No.4) if you are recolouring.

Mouldy

Mould can be cleaned and it’s best to catch it early

If mould has grown on your leather, it is both on the surface and in the structure. Leather Hero’s Mould Remover (No.21) kills mould and mould spores and helps to prevent them from reforming. Free of bleach, chlorine, triclosan and peroxide, it is non-caustic and kills 99.9% of germs, including staphylococcus, e-coli and pseudomonas. If mould inhabits leather long enough, it can ‘eat’ into the coatings causing cloudy marks. This can also be corrected via recolouring.

Stained

Aniline leather
These stains are permanent. The lounge was recoloured to hide them.

If the mark has penetrated the structure of the leather or leather coatings, it’s stained. Most stains are permanent and can usually only be minimised with cleaning rather than completely removed. Stained areas can be restored via recolouring using a Leather Repair Kit.

Greasy

Body and hair oil sinks into leather. It’s difficult to remove so prevention is key

If the leather has darkened with an oily appearance, it may be greasy with hair and body oil that has penetrated through the structure. This compromises both the strength and aesthetics of leather. Cleaning with Spot & Prep (No.4) by Leather Hero may remove grease from the surface but cannot fully reach the oils that are within the fibres. Recolouring is possible but the oils tend to resurface in time.

The Method

Test

  1. Test each product in an inconspicuous place to test for compatibility. If the finish changes or transfers onto a cloth it is not stable and may be removed by cleaning. Unless recolouring is intended, it may be best not to proceed

Clean

  1. Vacuum any dust and particles
  2. Spray the cleaner directly onto the leather one small section at a time
  3. Working quickly and gently, agitate the cleaner into the grain using a scrubbing brush
  4. Wipe clean with a microfibre cloth. During cleaning, if the cloth becomes very wet or heavily soiled change to a fresh one
  5. Repeat until clean
  6. Wipe over the area with a dampened clean or rinsed microfibre cloth

Condition

  1. Apply a tablespoon-sized amount of conditioner to a just dampened microfibre cloth and squeeze to incorporate
  2. Wipe over the surface evenly and repeat until all areas have been treated

Protect

  1. Apply by spray to one section at a time
  2. Wipe over the surface evenly and repeat until all areas have been treated
  3. Buff if desired
Leather upholstery is an investment worthy care

How Often To Clean

Consider how often we wipe down our kitchen benches and wash our clothes… Imagine going a month without doing either. Lounges and car seats in regular use gather soiling, spills and ‘human grime’ at the same pace as everything else we use daily.

A 1-3 monthly maintenance clean is recommended or more often in high traffic environments.  The more regularly you wipe over your leather, the quicker the job. Light and regular is infinitely better for leather than harsh spring cleaning or worse still, the one in 5 or 10 years clean. It ensures your furniture is always a joy to use and looks good too.

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The Gladstone Bag; a vintage leather luggage classic overnight bag

The Gladstone Bag a vintage leather luggage classic overnight bag1 – Leather Hero

Looking for some leather luggage oozing vintage swag? The Gladstone Bag is experiencing a revival as fashionistas and vintage leather lovers everywhere celebrate the iconic design. Gladstone bags make the perfect overnight bag.

The namesake

The Gladstone Bag was created in the mid-19th century by J. G. Beard, a London leather dealer, who named it after William Ewart Gladstone, the British Prime Minister of the time. Usually made of very strong leather, the Gladstone bag was a type of suitcase. Built on a rigid frame, with a large heavy base, the original design opened wide into two sections and was tied with leather lanyards to keep it closed.

 William Ewart Gladstone

William Ewart Gladstone was elected Conservative Member of Parliament for Newark-on-Trent in 1832. He came to serve four terms as Prime Minister of Great Britain and was known for his love of travel. Very much a keen admirer and supporter, Beard name his invention after William Gladstone. Believed to have been based on a French design, these bags gained popularity around the world with makers developing design variations to suit an array of traveller demands and the requirements of the many diverse professions that adopted them.

The first Gladstones

Like all design icons, the ever popular Gladstone Bag delivers in both form and function. Opening widely from the top with hinges that locked open, professionals and travellers alike appreciated the continuous and unhindered access to the content within. The heavy base gave the bag stability which prevented it tumbling over and the contents spilling or being damaged.  This meant that the Gladstone design was readily adopted by doctors (and later nurses), who would conduct home visits with a portable stash of medicinals neatly packed in the bags.  Later a ‘surgeons bag’ was developed. It included draws that acted like pull out trays and enabled drugs, dressings and instruments to be carefully compartmentalised.

Before the camera was invented Gladstone Bags were advertised in catalogues

Originally taken up by wealthy professional men such as businessmen, doctors, lawyers and politicians, the Gladstone Bag was later used broadly by men of varying trades; at first to carry their tools and later to carry their lunch as well. By the 1950’s the mission brown Gladstone Bag was familiar to almost every household in Australia as it carried Dad’s ‘crib’ (lunch), fishing tackle, tools, papers and just about everything else.

In Victorian times, gentile folk would travel with carpet bags and Gladstones. Then, as they are now, Gladstone Bags were considered high fashion and a statement of refined style. Referring to the Gladstone in the iconic 1891 book and film The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wild says ‘What a way for a fashionable painter to travel.  A Gladstone bag and an Ulster’.

Gladstone Bag advertisement

A safe place

In 1912, as the Titanic began to sink, it is believed that staff on board the ill-fated ship, stuffed Gladstone bags with precious jewels, valuables and cash from the safe deposit boxes of their wealthy passengers.  It’s thought that their intention was to prevent the valuables from spreading across the ocean floor by keeping them contained in the bags. Most likely, the ship’s pursers probably planned to return the precious cargo to their owner once safely back in New York. Although, sadly that did not eventuate, to a certain extent, their plan worked. The tanning methods of the time rendered leather resistant to the ravages of the oceans microorganisms. Those artefacts later recovered from within the Gladstone Bags that had rested on the ocean floor for decades, were found to be in relatively good condition.

The perfect holdall, the Gladstone Bag serves a group of knitters.

Good design never fades

In 1973, the Metta Catharina von Flensburg, a Danish brigantine that sank in Plymouth Sound in 1786 was salvaged. A cache of Russian reindeer hides was recovered. These hides are now exclusively for the use of GJ Cleverley who makes the finest shoes and bags, including a signature piece; a Gladstone Bag with a racing green goatskin lining which retails for £4,500 – no less!

  

Made to stand the test of time.

Gladstone Bags continue to be a favourite amongst today’s medical and legal professionals. Made new by leather luggage and fashion houses around the world, the design perpetuates for its style, function, tradition and nostalgia. Nowadays, the Gladstone Bag is no longer exclusively for men. It is highly sought after by women who appreciate the iconic style of this supremely collectable fashion accessory and find great purpose for this wide-mouthed bag. No longer unusual to see a woman with a Gladstone Bag on her arm, these bags have been reclaimed and repurposed as the ultimate feminine town and country accessory.

Setting the scene

These sturdy hand built bags have had a long career in movies that continues to this day. They conjure such warm feelings of style, industry and nostalgia that they have featured in countless movies. Somehow, they communicate the capable and purposeful intent of the carrier. It’s no doubt the long, professional career of the Gladstone Bag, and the many exquisitely important documents, decrees, papers, instruments, love letters and precious treasures they have reliably transported, that makes them such an aspirational possession for our time.

Alligator print leather Gladstone Bag

These famous bags, although predominantly cowhide, were embossed with the textured markings of a variety of exotic creatures from alligator to walrus

Gladstone Bags from Leather Hero

Today, Gladstone Bags lend their vintage chic to home interiors, retail spaces, film and television sets as well as being used as functional handbags, toolkits and travel luggage. The interior lining is often worn and sometimes stained or ripped. For most enthusiasts, given the prohibitive cost of relining, the condition of the interior is secondary to the design credentials and beauty of the outer leather shell. At Leather Hero, our focus is on getting the best out of the leather. We clean, sometimes recolour, tint, condition and topcoat our Gladstone Bags. In most cases, we leave the interior untouched, partly because we find interesting historical titbits like the names and addresses of previous owners written there. We prefer to preserve those little tokens of history so that the bag goes on to tell it’s enduring tale well into the future.

If you have knowledge or a story about Gladstone Bags, please share it with us. You are welcome to make a purchase enquiry at any time. Contact us for images, dimensions and a description of the operating functionality of the bags we have in stock.