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Whether you’re buying a leather briefcase, jacket, bag or wallet, you should be aware of what you’re paying for when it comes to genuine leather products.

While trends come and go, leather is known to stand the test of time.

The benefits of utilising dried animal hides were first recognised in prehistoric times, where leather was used by our ancestors to protect themselves from harsh conditions. Not only is it one of man’s earliest discoveries, it has been a favoured material for centuries throughout numerous trades and industries due to its hard-wearing natural characteristics.

You may have seen “genuine leather” stamped on belts, bags & purses all over the globe. However, over the years the understanding of the term has become misconstrued.

In the late 1900’s, the tag “genuine leather” was a true selling point, simply meaning real.


But what is a “genuine leather” product today?

Leather wallet

Genuine Leather in the Leather Craft Industry

Although “genuine leather” isn’t a proper term in the leather craft industry, it is a label that is intentionally vague. Always remember that “genuine leather” is only a collective term which categorises products which are made of real leather.

Imagine a furniture manufacturer is selling a chair classified as “wood”. Is this a chair made from pine or mahogany? Both wood, but with a uncomparable difference in quality. Similar to wood, leather comes in different grades, each with their own unique characteristics.

In this instance, a “genuine leather” label distinguishes the product from being synthetic, but does not infer high quality.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t purchase an item labeled as “genuine leather”. Some brands still use this tag for their products, even though they are made from a high grade leather.


However, this isn’t always the case.

Leather belt

Bonded leather

Have you ever bought an inexpensive “genuine leather” sofa, or even a belt or purse? If so, you may have owned a bonded leather item.

Although the chance of the product having lasted is reasonably negligible.

Bonded leather is created using left-over pieces of hide that are blended together with a type of plastic to form a whole piece of leather.

It can be difficult to tell the difference, as the appearance and smell of a finished bonded leather product is almost identical to a product made wholly from leather. However, the main difference is the quality and durability, which has a negative influence on the sustainability and life value of the product at hand.

In conclusion, bonded leather products are often tagged as being “genuine leather”, yet is merely a man-made product built with scraps of leather fibres and plastics.

Whitehouse Cox genuine leather

Leather maintains a renowned reputation for its strength and ability to last. However there is a lack of awareness around its many different grades. Many consumers often presume leather is leather and have long-term expectations when purchasing goods advertised as “genuine leather”. However a great deal of these buyers are unknowingly investing in poor-quality products which, regrettably, aren’t living up to the high standards leather is notorious for.

To avoid being mislead, it might be beneficial to dig a little deeper before finalising a decision to purchase.

Leather at Whitehouse Cox

If you have already read about Whitehouse Cox,  you will know all of our leather accessories are made from the finest leathers, and have been expertly crafted right here in the UK since 1875.

One of our signature leathers is English Bridle Leather. This leather is ‘finished’ in England. By this we mean it is lovingly hand coloured and goes through an intensive process of staining and waxing. Many coats of wax are applied to our Bridle Leather to “feed” the leather, in the same way the leather would be treated for equestrian saddles and bridles. Saddle leather is a natural vegetable tanned leather and another of our signature collections.

When it comes to both Whitehouse Cox’s bridle leather range and our saddle leather range, one thing doesn’t change and that’s the extraordinary quality of each item in both collections.

Discover more with our quick guide on the difference between bridle and saddle leather.


Our team at Whitehouse Cox are proud to champion true English heritage with the focus on quality and sustainable accessories that will stand the test of time.

Take a browse through both our ladies and gentlemen’s collections to find your perfect leather companion.

If you would like to know how to best care for your leather products, click here to discover how the team at Whitehouse Cox care for their luxury leather accessories.

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