Tanning & types of Finishing
Raw hides can be up to 1 cm thick, so before tanning each hide is split into two layers, which we refer to as top grain leather and split leather.
Most of Sipos collection are top grain leather, as thinner leathers, which are more flexible and smoother are preferred for garments and upholstery.
Once the hide is split, the top grain leather can be used to make various types of leather. Basically, you can make full grain if the hide is beautiful and has less defects, or you can make corrected grain of the hide is lower quality. Corrected grain hides are lightly sanded or buffed to removed small defects, hereafter the corrected grain can be pigment with color, embossed with prints or left sanded as nubuck for a velvet look.
The hides which are beautiful enough to be left as full grain is used for Aniline or Semianiline. Aniline is the most prestigious, and aniline hides has no sanding, or coating of the grain. They are simply dyed through with a transparent dye, and maybe have a light finish in form of wax and oil. Semianiline is dyed the same way as aniline but has a protecting coating or pigment to cover some defects in the grain. Usually semianiline in good quality has a similar touch and feel as aniline.
Just to make things confusing, many refers to full grain as to leathers that has not been split, and still have the thickness and core of the leather intact, but full grain just mean that the grain of the leather has been left intact, and natural, during all tanning processes.
Aniline can usually be recognized by a nice warm touch and softness. Besides this the follicles can always be seen (through a magnifying glass or by zooming with the camera lens). Since aniline means natural and open surface, the follicles are seen open. Aniline is delicate and all stains will remain, and count as patina and be a part of the leathers history. Aniline are breathable and the most comfortable, both for garments and upholstery.
Semianiline can also have visible follicles, but they covered and closed. Touch and softness can be almost same as aniline, if it is done by a skilled tannery. Semianiline are more durable to use and still offers great comfort, but on upholstery and garment. Semianiline can be produced on corrected grain.
Pigment and corrected grain. Corrected grain is nubuck, and nubuck is as open as aniline. Only the best hides of corrected grain can be selected for nubuck. Most leather produced are corrected grain. A pigment is applied and grain-pattern is printed, leaving a very robust surface, which will last longer with greater stability. Stains from liquid and fat is seldom an issue with corrected and pigmented grain. Corrected and pigmented grain are not breakable.
Suede is upside down. Grain is left intact for securing the leathers strength, and fleshside is buffed to a velour. This is suede. If buffing/velour is made in the grain side, it is nubuck.
Suede for garments are made on skins with the grain intact, suede for shoes and bags are usually made of split leather.
Doubleface is leather or fur which can be used as reversible or without lining. Classic doubleface is lambskins with wool on, sheared (shearlings) and with back side made to suede or pigmented with finish or embossing. Many standard garment leathers are today finished with a light silicone on backside, not to make reversible, but to give opportunity to use without lining in garments or accessories.
Fancy leathers or Fantasy are leather with prints, embossing or coating, either to imitate exotic leathers, or to give a fashion effect.