At Ovae, we are passionate about bringing our customers stylish accessories made from the highest quality materials.

We sometimes get requests to make our creations using non-leather alternatives. While we respect anyone’s desire to be leather-free, we prefer to create our accessories with leather over man-made materials such as polyurethane.

Leather is a practical, flexible and beautiful material. At Ovae, we are committed to slow-fashion and our creations are designed for durability and longevity. Genuine and high quality leather lasts a lifetime, and even improves with age, while many man-made alternatives can crack and wear after a few uses.

Yet practical does not mean that we must compromise on beauty and luxury. We also love to work with leather for aesthetic reasons. Quality leather is a sensory experience; an invitation to touch, smell and see. Our customers often comment on how soft and supple our leather range is.

We do however acknowledge that the ethics and practices of both the leather and faux leather industries are incredibly complex and standards vary across the world. We therefore take our use of leather seriously and want to be as transparent as possible with our customers so they can make an informed choice when choosing Ovae.

Ovae’s Use Of Leather And Suede:

  • The majority of our leather is sourced from tanneries in Indonesia, Italy and New Zealand that hold the ISO certification. Some of our suppliers are so small that recognised certifications are too bureaucratic for their set-up – however we will only work with suppliers that we are satisfied share our values on transparency within the supply chain and sourcing of raw materials as well as the livelihoods of the individuals who procure our hides.
  • We use cow, sheep and goat leather. We source and use hides that are a by-product of the food industry.
  • We use full grain leather, the strongest and most durable type of leather.
    • All of our leather products are made using full grain raw hide. We don't use reconstituted or bonded leather like a lot of other leather brands (bags that are 'leather' but don't scratch or mark and have that plastic/leather hand-feel are reconstituted or bonded leathers)
    • This means the leather we use is in its most natural and organic form - slight scratches and marks are a natural occurrence and we believe add to the patina of the leather. With regular conditioning, the leather only gets better with age as it wears and those small scratches that appear at first, melt into the leather.
    • We always work with the highest possible quality leather, resulting in longevity but also a luxurious hand feel.
    • We prefer to use pure vegetable tanned leather, a natural alternative to chromium-tanned leather that often leaches toxins into the water supply.
    • The tanneries we work with are small family run businesses, just like us. Their small scale enables them to be efficient, and to minimise waste and pollution that can occur with larger scale mass productions.
    • As small operations, our suppliers do not require large stockpiles of hides. In fact, a lot of the hides we use are sourced and colour dyed specifically for us. This has the benefit of minimising waste, but also ensures that as much as possible we are able to control our supply chain.
    • We aim to use all of the animal hide. Leather offcuts are reworked into design features such as our de-bossed logo squares or leather thonging to wrap our leather straps. We also make our samples with offcuts from production, even when this means are samples are made in different coloured leathers.


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    A brief history of leather

    The use of leather is as old as mankind. In prehistoric times, animal hide was used for clothing and tents.

    Ancient civilisations – the Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans – refined treatment techniques to soften and preserve leather. With smoke, vegetables and oil, they mastered the use of hides to make clothing, tools, and weapons. In the ruins of Pompei tanning equipment was found that was still being used centuries later.

    As societies became increasingly more sophisticated and developed, so did the scale of manufacturing and the popularity of leather as an essential material. From leather covered dining chair covers in the Middle Ages, to the binding of books in the Victorian era, to Dutch traders introducing fine leather condoms to Japan!

    In the 19th century an alternative method to vegetable tanning was invented. Chrome tanning, still predominantly used today, uses chemicals to speed up the tanning process from close to a year to just a few days. Today, leather is still the material of choice for shoes and accessories, and creators continue to draw inspiration from the craftsmanship and traditions of eras gone by.