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Vintage leather, distressed leather, vintage-inspired leather, it’s worth asking with all these popular terms floating around, “What does vintage leather mean?” There are two key distinctions.


When it comes to clothing, vintage technically refers to items or products that are 20 to 100 years old.  Anything older than 100 years is considered antique.  With regards to leather specifically, vintage usually refers to items that pre-date the early 1980’s.


When high-quality leather ages, instead of wearing out, it burnishes and beautifies, which produces a very popular patina and unique character that cannot be easily replicated.  Owning a true vintage leather item, you own a piece of history – and you ought to take special care to avoid getting the leather soaked or have the leather exposed to any harsh climates.  Using leather conditioners regularly also keeps the quality of the leather preserved and will last a lot longer giving you heaps more millage.  The quality of the leather is paramount, as the higher the quality, the more character it will naturally render.

But before we get ahead of ourselves it’s important to understand how well your leather will handle wear and tear and essentially how long your leather products or accessories will last.

It’s also good to know that faux leather is not genuine leather and really not worth wasting much time on this besides to say, the leather (which is not authentic real leather) will not last.

Next up is your Bonded leather which is your 4th grade of leather quality. Usually made from scraps and literally the bottom of the barrel when it comes to the quality of leather you are possibly purchasing. This type of leather is weak and degrades quickly with use.  

In 3rd place comes your Genuine leather.  When it comes to leather quality the hide does not stand up well to stress.  

In 2nd place for quality, comes your Top Grain leather. Despite its name, this grade of leather is not top of range nor is the quality, but it is quite strong and can be very durable, and as long as its finish remains unbroken. Top Grain leather does not age as well as your full grain. Basically, it will last for a good couple of years but it’s not going to look quite as good doing it.  

On the top of the list, and the best leather money can buy you get your Full Grain leather. This quality of leather by far outlasts its counterparts whether that be endurance, and the more you use it, the better it looks. Making sure this type of leather is taken care of properly, with ongoing wear and tear that would normally wear out and tear up another product will rather develop the characteristics and patina that make the leather product or accessory even more valuable and desirable over time.  

Living in times of a throw-away disposable consumer, most people can’t imagine a product that lasts a lifetime and actually even improves with age. With quality leather bags and accessories at Steve Collett Urban & Vintage Leather, this is definitely the case and you can be assured that we only use Top Grain Leather hide.  Some even of your choice.

Usually, there are 2 main schools of thought when it comes to leather care: one is keeping the leather looking as brand spanking new as possible or the other would be, being more concerned with caring for the leather in a certain way that lets the life story of the leather and its carrier emerge over a period of time.  That at the end of the day becomes a personal choice.

In the case you are after any more information regarding the content of this article, say hello.  At Steve Collett Urban & Vintage Leather we make sure all our customers are more than happy with the leather products they purchase from us.  We are here to be of the best assistance possible.  All our products come with warranties to assure you your peace of mind and also the highest quality of workmanship and the standards of the hides we use to manufacture all our leather products and accessories.

Get in touch here at or feel free to shoot us an email at

Happy days, the Steve Collett Urban & Vintage Leather Team 😊

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