With the summer in my head, I thought back to my little holiday trips to Greece where I got these leather flip flops. The right one is my old pair but once started just like the ones on the left. If you are searching for a leather bag or an old-fashioned suitcase you might imagine a dark cognac color bag with beautiful patina like the right ones. Well, I am sorry to tell you, most of the stores won’t sell those. That’s because a leather patina is something you just can’t make… But what is leather patina? Let’s dig into a little bit of theory.
What is leather patina?
Patina originates from Latin and translates in “coating”. A coating of the leather that gives it a soft sheen and deep rich coloring that develops over time (mine are about 4 years old). Besides the coloring, a patina is usually well known for its worn look. Scratches tell a story. It often also a sign of a good quality piece of leather, not only since time has past but also since natural strong leathers are most prone to patina. More natural processed pieces will act the most as a natural skin. As you know by now you will have to take care of leather just like you take care of your own skin. Otherwise, it will dry out, get wrinkles or cracks in it. When leather adsorbs water, sunlight or natural oils it will get a little bit more tanned just as we do in the summer. Pieces of leather which are highly chemical processed will developt less or never a patina. Furthermore, full-grain leather will do it better compared to split leathers.
Can you influence it?
Yes for sure! Well, actually up to a certain amount. If you want a stronger patina you could let the sun do its job. Let it sunbath for a while but if the sun is strong keep an eye on it. Before you know one side of the leather is colored while another part, for example, hidden or on the bottom is still pale. If you use a little oil on it it will go even faster. The left flip flops are already turning brown since they are sold really pale but I’ve let them in the sun for about a week on holiday.
If you want to slow it down… well then it’s another story. Even though cosmetic giants suggest otherwise… we will all age eventually so does your skin. Nevertheless, you could keep your piece of leather in an, as much as possible, good condition. This, keeping it out of the sun, and never using it will definitely slow down the process… But why would you?
Patina is a process that takes time, years of usage and your product will become more and more beautiful over the years! You can give it a little kick start by applying leather oils and sun although the true beauty takes time. So let’s give it some time don’t you think?