About Our Leather

About Leather and the Manufacturing Process of Vegetable Tanned Leather

There are two ways of the leather making process.

Vegetable tanned leather applies tannin extracted from plants. Hides are immersed for several times in vats of increasing concentrations of tannin. It takes a long time, but it has no harm to human body and also has more flexibility and endurance. The vegetable tanned leather is commonly used for leather craving and the bottom of shoes. Due to its high cost and long process, vegetable tanning has been gradually substituted by chrome tanning after Industry Revolution.

Chrome tanning uses a solution of chemicals, acids, and salts to tan the hide. It’s a very quick process to produce a piece of tanned leather. Chrome tanning is very bad for the environment, however, it gives the leather soft and supple touch. Chrome tanning is widely used nowadays for bags, jackets, and shoes.

Type of Leather

Italian leather is certainly world famous, but does it mean that it uses only Italian cow? The answer is No. Some Italian leather may originally come from Europe, the States, or Latin America.

So why is Italian leather so well-known? The key is the unique vegetable tanning craftsmanship, which has been passed on for hundreds of years. Italian craftsmen’s technique allows the leather to be bright-colored and luxuriant. Hide from the different area may show different characters.

For example, cows from Latin America are usually free-range, the hide often shows scars and scrapes from insect bites or fighting. Cows from Europe are mostly kept in barns, so the hide is in the best condition. In the states, cows are bigger. So the usable surface is bigger, too.

Different Parts of the Skin

Different parts of cow skin can generally vary to 4 kinds— the belly, the backbone, the butt, and the neck. The belly part skin appears wrinklier and has more insect bites. The backbone is usually cut into square shape, it has fewer scars and more dense structure. On the contrary, the butt part is the most rubbed area so it has more scratches and scars.

The neck can be distinguished by its crease and growth marks, it’s also the easiest part to tell whether its real leather or not. Japanese consumers specifically like the neck leather products due to the uniqueness, each one would have its own characters. We deliberately keep these natural marks of cow skin to show its original characters.

What is Full Grain Leather?

Full grain leather is the best leather which can be 3 to 5mm thick.

It comes from the top layer of the hide. The surface of full grain leather burnishes and beautifies with use. As a matter of course, natural full grain has scars and dermatoglyphics, therefore there is only about 70 to 80% can be used. Some full grain leather receives spray paint as make-up, to look smoother and shinier, but it may end up looking like cheap leather.

Top grain leather is the second highest grade because it is split from the top layer of blemished hide then sanded and refinished. With a layer of plastic imitation leather, this part can be free of scars and scrapes. Its price is much cheaper than full grain leather.

Full grain leather with good quality is rare, that’s why its value is so high. Alto insists to use high-quality full grain leather for the products, each item has its unique natural marks. We wish to share the beauty and value of fine leather with you.

Leather Care

How to maintain and clean your leather properly?


Genuine leather absorbs water and steam when it comes to liquid, it can easily be a stain. When your item has water or other liquid on it, dry it immediately and store somewhere cool and dry. Once it’s dry, wipe it with a leather care product.


Like any other natural material, leather ages under sunlight exposure. Light color leather might turn dark after exposing to the sun, vice versa. If you’d like to protect your item from this natural process, keep it away from heat and sunlight.

Protect Oil

Vegetable tanned leather applies tannin extracted from plants. The color darkens after daily use, leaving some marks and fine lines as time goes by. That is the beauty of leather, it grows character with age. As cellphone accessories, they get used very often. Thus, the color changing progress occurs faster. If you wish to slow it down, try some waterproof leather care spray or oil. This can help to avoid sweat and dust.


Genuine leather is like human skin, it can get cut or scratched, so it’s very important to treat it with care. Although a scratch on leather cannot be removed, it does turn less obvious after time. You may also apply some leather care product to wipe the surface to help its condition.

Dry Naturally

It’s inevitable for the leather to get dirty after long time use. When dealing with a light stain, wipe the surface with a dry cloth. On stubborn stains, wipe the area down with a damp cloth (not wet) and then let the leather dry naturally. Over-wiping might cause fading or peeling. Be gentle with it.

Daily Care

For daily care, simply use a dry white cloth to wipe off the dust whenever you would like.For further action, use a dry cloth to apply a leather conditioner in small circles on the leather. Press softly and evenly on the surface.


For the suede part, a soft brush is ideal to keep it clean and supple. A clean eraser is recommended to wipe off stains. For further protection, you can use a waterproof spray on a regular basis.

There are many types of leather cleaner/conditioner on the market. Some might darken the color while some others might lighten it. If you are not sure which, try a little amount on a small area before applying to whole leather.

Natural leather is not waterproof. We recommend you apply leather care before starting to use it. This will help your leather product last longer and be more dust-proof.