Fashion

Saffiano Leather, is that what I want with my leather goods now?

My quest for a new wallet began when my all time favorite wallet from Hong Kong started breaking down. My old wallet is made by HosannArt in collaboration with FX Creations.

What is the HosannArt brand about? From their website:

HosannArt carries its original brand name, established in Hong Kong in 2007. With registered trademake in HK/China and Taiwan, and some other countries. The company specializes in applying its creative arts on all kinds of practical products. Mostly fashion products such as: bags, wallets etc. available in over 22 sales outlets in Hong Kong, sought after by buyers all over the world and loved by persons of all ages, particularly, ladies and the younger-aged children. 

The creation centres on a group of lovable children who love to dream and fantasize, who reach for the stars, holding their aspirations high, till their dreams come true. Through their boundless imagination, they shows us the pursuit of their lives, the vivacity of their fantasy. The big eyes of our little characters witness happy and treasured moments.

 I could not find any wallet like this art and design in the USA, but during a Hong Kong trip, I found this beautiful wallet. It was love at first sight and it cost me about 37 USD. I really like long wallet types so that the wallet won’t feel so bulky. I also really like the cutesy and unique design on the wallet. As you can see in the pictures below, you will see that I had gotten a lot of wear from it after almost 3 years of daily use. It’s made with faux leather, and I was hoping it could last longer, but to protect this wallet, I decided that I needed a new wallet with better material and keep this old one as a collectible for myself to admire.

My bf decided to take me out to an outlet mall to find good wallet to replace my old one. I stopped by many outlet shops with the designer brand names – Michael Kors, Cole Haan, Guess, Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, Fossil, Coach, etc. –  and others that I’ve never heard of. I was looking for a simply designed brown/tan wallet (I have this weird obsession with brown/tan color on my accessories). Many were either too small or too large or too many zippers or too many buttons. I needed it to be able to store some cash, coins, at least 7 cards, and to be made of durable leather.

I finally came down to 2 that were suitable for my needs. One was the Michael Kors ‘Jet Set’ Saffiano Leather Card Holder and the other was the Kate Spade Newbury Lane Stacy Saffiano Leather Clutch.

It was only during this trip that I discovered Saffiano Leather and how much more durable it is. It doesn’t have the soft leather touch and is highly textured, which I really like the feel of. I ended up going with the Kate Spade one as it was slimmer, could hold more cards without bulking up too much, and is the color I want (the Michael Kors ran out of the brown one version and only had the navy left). It also cost $20+ more than the Michael Kors one, but this is an investment. After leaving the store, I realized that I just made my first Kate Spade purchase while all my girl friends have had one or more items from this designer ages ago.

It was a bit weird with the position of the snap closure in the beginning, but I understood its convenience over time. I really like that I can throw it in my bag and not worry how it will be tousled around in the bag because the saffiano leather does a good protection job. I did  a little research on Saffiano Leather and found something interesting from this website:

What is Saffiano Leather?

Saffiano leather was first made in one of Italy’s most famous tanneries and was a signature and patent of Prada. Saffiano leather was originally made from the highest quality calf leather and the name Saffiano comes from the cross hatch print that was pressed into the wax that coated the leather.

Today the print is used on a wide range of leathers and PU coated splits. It is supposed to be water-resistant, if not waterproof, and on a vegetable tanned base but it is the pattern which many factories are now using to call the product Saffiano.

In the same way that Russian, Moroccan and Cordovan leather once had clear geographical and technical definitions, Saffiano leather is now made in many countries and in different ways.

So although what we see is the same Saffiano print across all the current designer brands, what is actually underneath the surface could be no better than your cheap split leather with a surface coating simply printed with the cross hatch design “Saffiano Leather”.

So the term Safiano does not refer to the type of leather but the texture that results from a manufacturing technique to which the leather has been applied through. The last statement was the most interesting because it most certainly could mean that any cheap leather can be used and not be known by the average consumer. This makes it very easy to be mass produced while keeping costs down when manufacturing leather products.

After reading another article from this website on how to tell the difference between saffiano leather made from genuine leather and faux leather, I still could not tell the difference.  Genuine leather would be made from calfskin while faux leather would be made from polyurethane. No where in the description could I find the words “Genuine Leather” either. Since I bought this from an outlet store, of which I recently learned that certain items are intentionally modified for outlet stores – cheaper quality – I had my doubts. I also remembered more than one sale associates while at the Michael Kors store coming up to me and the first thing telling me how much I would save if I bought the wallet I was holding during their sale event. This happened in other outlet stores I visited too, but not in Kate Spade though.

I took it upon myself to ask a Kate Spade representative through their online chat. The rep responded with

I am pleased to advise the leather in the Newbury Lane Stacy is made from cowhide.

Well that confirmed that I had bought genuine leather.

I’ve had the wallet for over a year and half now and the leather is pretty scratch/stain resistant so far. I have noticed that the dark brown outer edge line at the folding area had peeled off and this may be a design flaw that was not foreseen (or am I giving them too much benefit of the doubt?). I also would have preferred the logo being embossed into the material rather than it sticking out on the wallet as the gold colored coating is starting to peel away. My bf is always saying “Nice wallet” every time I take it out lol. Functionality-wise, it has been able to hold my cards with ease, except that it can be tough to take bills in and out as the billfold is not very flexible. Despite its slimness, its length won’t allow it to fit in most clutch purses.

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the dark brown outer edge line on the folding area that peeled off

Concluding notes on the official Kate Spade caring instructions for this leather:

Should your wallet become wet, wipe gently dry with a soft cloth. For regular cleaning, a damp cloth and mild leather cream may be applied.  Below we have provided a link of our leather cleaner for your reference: Leather Cleaner.

Since I haven’t stained/marked it in anyway, I have not found the need to do any wiping. When the unfortunate does happen, I would first wipe it with a soft dry cloth and then move on to damping the cloth with water.

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