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Colours & Finishes

Converting Skins into Leather

Tanning is the process applied to convert hides and skins into leather. A “hide” refers to the skin of large animals like horses, cows and buffaloes, while the term “skin” is used for smaller animals including ostriches, goats and sheep. Tanning strengthens the hide’s protein structure by bonding the peptide chains. The skin consists of three basic layers: the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous layer. Only the dermis is used to manufacture leather, the other layers are removed during several processes. The main objective of the tanning process is to dissolve fats and non-fibrous proteins and to chemically bond the collagen fibres together.

Tanning is a very familiar process that has been with us through the ages. Since the prehistoric times, a chemical process was applied to skins whereby a vegetable material that contains tannin was used. This process is still used in less developed countries, or to achieve certain specific outcomes with leather. The newest form of tanning is chemical tanning, where mineral salts are used to produce thinner, softer leather products. Cape Karoo uses chemical tanning in order to produce the finest leather.

Leather production essentially consists of three main parts: preparation for tanning, where curing and the removal of hair and adherent flesh takes place, the tanning process and the finishing process. During the finishing process, mechanical and hand operations are used to soften, colour, lubricate and polish the leather.

Cape Karoo International Finishes

Saddle Finish (SF)

Via la Moda

Saddle Finish (SF)

Saddle Finish leather is a drum dyed aniline leather with a light finish that is polished to accentuate the natural grain pattern. The leather has a lively, silky sheen and soft, dry feel. This finish creates a two-tone colour effect. The final leather is relatively sensitive to direct light exposure and skin colour can change over time. It will age normally, developing a beautiful patina and taking on more character in the process. Saddle finish is available in a very large variety of colours and is mostly used in the fashion accessories market.

Classic Finish (CF)

Lorenzi

Classic Finish (CF)

Classic Finish is a full grain semi-matte, pigmented finish with natural grain pattern. The high concentration of pigment used in this finish might cover less visible marks. A very high level of colour consistency is achieved on an individual skin as well as overall on skins in a dye batch. The leather has a monotone colour with high light fastness. This type of finish makes the skin suitable for a wide range of products including shoes, belts and handbags.

Semi-Aniline Finish (SA)

Kat van Duine

Semi-Aniline Finish (SA)

A semi-aniline leather with a light finish that is polished to accentuate the natural grain pattern in a two-tone effect. The semi-aniline process achieves a higher level of colour consistency and light fastness than on Saddle Finish.

Lightfast (LF)

Corbeau

Lightfast (LF)

Drum dyed leather that receives a special final treatment with finishing agents that improves the light fastness of the leather. The finishing process leaves a contrast between the quills and valley of the skin, with a semi sheen coat and a dry feel. The process results in leather with a more uniform colour in appearance and is usually used in products where a higher level of light fastness is required.

Brush-Off (BO)

Black Jack Boots

Brush-off (BO)

A contrasting, pigmented top coat is applied on a full grain, drum dyed aniline leather. The top coat is then brushed off by the manufacturer to reveal a rich two-tone effect. This effect is only available in limited colours. The manual brushing technique is done by skilled hands to accentuate each product’s individuality, creating a unique effect that is very popular in the production of Western boots, wallets, belts and in upholstery.

Metallic Finish (MF)

Metallic Finish (MF)

Metallic Finish is a full grain, pigmented metallic finish that is applied on body and leg skins. A high level of colour consistency is achieved when applying this method. The metallic finish can be either silver, gold or bronze and creates a monotone metallic final leather look with a high light fastness.

Iridescent (IR)

Lorenzi

Iridescent (IR)

A drum dyed leather gets lightly finished with an iridescent application that creates a soft, pearly monotone colour. Perfect for evening accessories, giving a softer metallic finish. Iridescent applications are done in blue, red and yellow and can be applied to a selection of finishes as an additional effect.

Pearl

Pearl

A subtle, shimmering pearl effect is created by applying a pearlized finish to a full grain, aniline leather. Perfect for more formal products that include bridal wear and evening accessories.

Foiled Finish (FF)

Foiled Finish (FF)

The Foiled Finish is achieved by transferring film to the skin during a heat process. The transfer film is made from the finest grade materials and can be a single colour, metallic or a trendy design in multiple colours. The final result gives a shiny appearance that can hide defects on leather. It is very popular in smaller handbags or clutches as well as other evening accessories.

Glazed (GL)

Glazed (GL)

A full grain, drum dyed aniline finish is glazed to a brilliant gloss on body and leg skins. The glazing process flattens the quills, creating a firmer leather that is ideal for the creation of more structured styles of handbags, shoes and accessories. When used in manufacturing, care must be taken not to damage the glazed appearance of the skin.

Sequin

Cape Cobra

Sequin

During the Sequin finishing process the quills are flattened to the skin using a light plating process where some heat may be applied. This process does not affect the colour of the leather but results in a flat quill with a subtle, soft shine that reminds one of sequins. This process can either be done on the full skin or on cut panels and does not add any additional properties to the skin. The sequin finish can be applied to the majority of finishes offered in the CapeKaroo range.

Garment

Deon Oelofse

Garment

The Garment look is achieved when a full grain lightweight body skin is softly tanned, finished and polished to an extremely warm and silky handle specifically for the production of garments or soft handbags.

Automotive (AM)

Eisman Automotive Interior Design

Automotive (AM)

A special skin selection process takes place where after a full-pigmented finish is applied to the tanned skins. A high level of colour consistency is achieved on the same skin and across batches. The skins are processed in accordance with specific requirements to ensure suitability for automotive applications.

Upholstery (UP)

Robin's Nest Interiors

Upholstery (UP)

The Upholstery finish can be applied to any selected finished skin, enhancing its properties and making it suitable for application in furniture production. This is done by either treating the finished leather, or the entire furniture piece with a special upholstery coating for additional protection of the leather surface which includes scotchgard. Care must be taken by the customer to specify the precise properties their final product would need. Upholstery leather can also be a full-pigmented finish with a monotone effect if high levels of light fastness and colour consistency is required by the manufacturer.

Mill-Off (MO)

Mill-Off (MO)

A contrasting topcoat is applied to pigmented body and leg skins, which is then milled off to create a unique two-tone effect. This finish is available in a limited range of colours and the final leather has medium light fastness. A slight variation in colour consistency can be expected as each skin’s own unique characteristics are enhanced in the milling process.

Wash-Off (WO)

Wash-Off (WO)

A full grain pigmented finish that receives a topcoat in a contrasting colour. The leather then undergoes a process where the topcoat is skilfully washed off to some degree to create the desired look. The final leather will have a high light fastness.

Vintage

Vintage

A highly contrasted darkening of the quill on aniline dyed body skins, giving the effect of dramatic two-toned leather. This process is done by hand to ensure each skin’s natural characteristics are enhanced. The final leather will have medium light fastness.

Mount Desert (MD)

Cape Cobra

Mount Desert (MD)

Mount Desert is created by a contrasted darkening of the grain surface of the skin, giving a beautiful burnished effect to the leather. Uniform lightening of the dark grain is achieved, giving an antique, worn visual display to the final leather. This process enhances the natural break of the skin and the final leather ages beautifully with a natural patina.

Cowboy Classic (CC)

Anderson Bean

Cowboy Classic (CC)

A special spray-coated finish is applied and the leather is then polished to a high gloss that leaves it with a slightly distressed look. This finish gets enhanced by wear. The natural patina changes for the better with ageing, making this leather suitable for a wide range of products.

Bruciato

Ostrich International

Bruciato

Waxes are applied in the burnishing process to create Bruciato on full grain, drum dyed aniline leather. A highly burnished effect is achieved with a waxy, slightly silky feel. This leather is very popular in the cowboy boot and furniture industry and compliment less-formal designs, including western handbags and accessories.

Colonial

Comfort Creations

Colonial

A black top coat is applied to the dyed leather, which is then skilfully polished by hand to create a two-toned finishing that exaggerates the contrast between the quills and the valley. The top colour remains in the valleys while the quills are left darkened by die polishing process. The finish is used successfully for cowboy boots, handbags and furniture.

Rio Grande

Cape Cobra

Rio Grande

Rio Grande receives a white top coat on the dyed leather. The skin is then polished in a similar fashion as Colonial finish to create a two-toned finishing that exaggerates the contrast between the quills and the valley. Rio Grande is also used in the cowboy boot, handbag and upholstery industry.

Variegated Finish (VF)

Ben by Song

Variegated Finish (VF)

A black top coat is sprayed onto a drum dyed aniline leather. The skin is then stonewashed to reveal the primary dyed colour in the valleys. The final leather has a matte, two-toned denim look and feel where the quill reveals the underlying colour. This leather is used in for boots, handbags and accessories.

Light Variegated Finish (LVF)

Christin's manufacturers

Light Variegated Finish (LVF)

Light Variegated undergoes a finishing process similar to Variegated Finish, but this leather merely receives a tone-on-tone treatment on the full grain aniline leather. When the skin is put through a stonewash process, the lighter primary dyed colour is revealed. The final product has a matte, dry feel with a very subtle denim look and is suitable for boots, handbags and accessories.

Soft OPU

Soft OPU

Soft Oily Pull-up Leather is a full grain, drum dyed aniline leather that receives an oil and wax finish. This process leaves the leather with a soft, oiled-wax feel and the unique pull-up colour that appears when the leather is stretched. Soft OPU leather is more robust and easier to maintain than aniline leather. This finish creates a unique distressed look that develops natural rub and scuff marks and colour variation with use. The final leather is a popular choice for boot and shoe production. It is not suitable for handbags and accessories due to the oil content.

Wild West (WW)

Wild West (WW)

Wild West Finish is achieved when aniline leather undergoes a suede process that removes the thin outer layer of the skin. The skin is burnished with wax to achieve a rough, dry feel to the final leather. This gives an accentuated, rounded feel to the quill. Wild West is favoured by the Western industry to create Cowboy Boots.

Mojave Desert

Mojave Desert

A suede process is applied to full grain, drum dyed aniline leather that removes the thin outer layer of the skin. The leather is finished with wax and oil to create a slight pull-up effect. Lastly, the skin is polished to enhance the quills. Mojave Desert is only suitable for boots and footwear due to the oil content.

Melt (MT)

Melt (MT)

Melt is exclusively used on full grain, aniline leg skins. It creates a symmetrical ombre effect with light scales that fades into the darker contrasting side panels. The final leather is glazed to a brilliant gloss. The reverse effect can also be done by darkening the scales and fading into a lighter contrast on the sides.

Stonewash

Anna Trzebinski

Stonewash

Stonewash creates a two-toned, semi-suede pattern leg skin. The final leather will have relative sensitivity to direct light and colour can change over time. It is very popular for belts, smaller handbags and accessories.

Sateen

Lucchese Boots

Sateen

A light finish is applied to leg skin leather that is polished to accentuate the natural grain pattern of the leg skin. This creates a finish that is similar to the Saddle Finish applied to body skins. It creates a lively, silky sheen and soft, dry feel. The final leather is relatively sensitive to direct light and the skin colour can change over time. It will age normally developing a beautiful patina and taking on more character in the process. Sateen is mostly used in the fashion accessories market.

Colour Cards

SCOT Colour Card

Klein Karoo Ostrich Body Skin Colour Card

Klein Karoo Ostrich Leg Skin Colour Card

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