Advice / Upkeep
Leather a living material
16 May 2022
Advice / Upkeep
16 May 2022
Antarès has been creating and making bespoke saddles from French leather for 20 years. The comfort and quality of our saddles comes from our craftworkers’ expertise but also the quality of the leathers selected.
The French (and European) leather sector is highly regulated.
Antarès has opted to source its leather from French suppliers that is as clean and environmentally-friendly as possible.
Our tanner, Arnal, in Rodez, uses French hides that are mostly processed using a special vegetable, chestnut-based, tanning technique. Apart from dying, the grain is left entirely intact during the tanning and finishing process. Arnal is a family-owned tannery that is currently switching to an « eco-design » approach to develop a method that reduces the environmental impacts of leather by adopting a « Life-cycle » assessment approach.
Its vegetable-based tanning technique gives our leathers excellent stability and longevity. It also makes them more robust by keeping them tight over time. The tannery specially selects the finest hides for Antarès to meet our high quality standards.
Some items of leather used to make saddles require specific properties. These parts are chrome tanned (non-vegetable-based), a process used in almost 85% of global leather production. While not natural, the products selected and used for chrome tanning in France and the EU, such as Chrome 3, are the least harmful to the environment.
Another key point for Antarès is that the leather used to make our products comes only from the food processing industry. This means that no animal has been killed for its hide. Leather production is therefore the oldest and most noble ‘waste recycling’ activity. In France, the industry transforms 170,000 tonnes of waste each year, or the weight of 24 Eiffel Towers. Leather is also an ecological material as it is natural and biodegradable.
Every piece of leather naturally has visual ‘lumps and bumps’ gained during the life of the animal. Its appearance will never be perfectly smooth and uniform compared to other synthetic materials such as polyurethane, plastic imitation leather or polyester.
Unfortunately, these marks mean that this precious material is not always fully used. Antarès has therefore come up with new solutions to reduce and reuse these offcuts. You might not think it but these marks on the leather are what makes the final product truly unique.
Leather is always in-style, whatever the season. It has a timeless quality. The leather work on our tailor-made saddles is first and foremost a hallmark of quality and elegance. Antarès is committed to showcasing one of the finest materials provided by nature.
Leather is referred to as a living material as, in reality, one of its qualities is that it breathes. This is why it is so durable and robust. What’s more, leather can look as good as new over the years. If you treat or wax it, leather will be water-resistant and protected from other liquids.
Without leather, we couldn’t make bags, saddles, wallets, halters, reins, or bridles. Antarès strives to create timeless leather goods by leaving a positive and responsible footprint on the environment. With this in mind, we now have a halter and other leather goods entirely made from our recycled leather offcuts. The leather selected to make them may exhibit slight irregularities or differences in colour. These marks are intrinsic to the hide and relate to a noble and living material that provides a truly unique, hand-crafted item.