- saddle making steps
- Provenance & Quality
- Leather, a natural material
- CSR and sustainable development
Provenance & Quality
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.
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.
A meticulous selection
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.
Leather, a natural material
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.
An aesthetic and robust material
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.
Bags, saddles, wallets, halters, reins, or bridles…
without leather, we couldn’t make them. 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.
Recycling our raw material
Each day, a team of more than 45 skilled saddlers craft our famous tailormade saddles, using leather as their raw material. Respect is therefore a must when working with leather.
Just over a year ago, we introduced a plan to improve our approach to CSR and sustainable development. The plan seeks to limit waste of this noble material used to make our saddles. From now on, all our leather goods, including our leather by-products, are made from offcuts of French leather from our saddles. Without this responsibly-minded plan, Antarès would throw away roughly 20,000 kg of waste leather each year.
CSR and sustainable development
One year on, and we currently have 20 to 30 prototypes of new products underway. To further support this idea, we even appointed a Product Designer in early September 2021 to specially create and design products from offcuts.
To further support this idea, we even appointed a Product Designer in early September 2021 to specially create and design products from offcuts.
Clearly, using leather offcuts does not detract from Antarès’ standards of excellence. All the initial quality of our leather is preserved as we don’t correct the grain, which gives the leather is appealing irregularities.
The only thing we do to the leather is to stretch it as it dries in the tannery, so that it keeps its shape over time.
Similarly, each piece of leather is cleverly re-used to its best advantage, to design our products. Some parts naturally stay more soft and supple than others, so these will be perfect for making a pair of gloves. Conversely, other more rigid parts are ideal for making leather goods.
This ambitious plan subsequently extends Antarès’ vision.
Of course, we advocate for French-made products, while supporting short and local supply chains, but we can do more.
Working with local businesses on this responsibly-minded plan is also a great way to set an example while supporting our regional economy.
Our teams are now working on other ventures jointly devised with local businesses, such as oyster farmers, to provide them with products (gloves or protective equipment for their hands) which are vital to their business and designed from our leather offcuts.