The Art of Leather

The Art and Quality of Leather

Over the last decade, we’ve worked with generations of skilled artisans to deliver best-in-craft leather products. From sourcing our leather to ensuring responsible production practices, each step is a study in design, quality, and sustainability. The finished product is more than an accessory—it’s an art.

Where does the design process begin?

We design our products in our San Francisco office. Our team specializes in creating enduring, functional styles. Each of our bags, wallets, pouches, and compartments is made for everyday. Our mission is to create timeless products that will stay in your wardrobe and out of landfill.

Detail images of leather pattern

Where are the products made?

Our partners are in Argentina, Italy, and Turkey. Our factories and artisans represent generations of practice in the field of leather. Their expertise in material, construction, stitching, and wear brings each of our designs to life. After nine years of working together, each manufacturer has become part of our global Cuyana family.

Exterior Shots of Italy

What kind of leather do you use and why?

We use 100% cow leather, all a byproduct of the meat industry. We use real leather because of its resilient and supple qualities. Genuine leather also maintains its intended color well and is typically more durable than vegan options.

Almost all leather alternatives often include plastics, are less durable, and maintain shorter lifespans. With each product we create, we set out to ensure it stays in your wardrobe for as long as possible.

What is leather tanning?

Leather tanning is the delicate process of turning the hides into a wearable material. The age-old process involves treating and changing the surface of the leather so that it is resistant, soft, absorbent of color, and easy to clean. There are multiple ways to tan leather, including chrome tanning and vegetable tanning.

Which type does Cuyana use?

Currently, we use chrome tanning on our leather goods to ensure utmost quality and extend product life. Our production partners have highly-regulated tanning requirements to ensure our process minimizes the potential chemical output of chrome tanning processes. The most important part of this process is to ensure our leathers do not contain traces of chrome VI, a toxic form of this ingredient. By taking this approach, we are able to maximize softness and extend the life of our leather products, while vegetable tanning yields less-resilient leather and compromises a product’s lifespan.

Detail shot of pebbled leather

What is the Leather Working Group?

The Leather Working Group is a non-profit organization and group of tanneries and manufacturers. As a brand, we were early advocates and adapters of this organization’s mission. Their goal is to minimize the environmental impact of leather by maintaining an Environmental Audit Protocol that promotes sustainable business practices within the leather industry, and ensures compliance along measures such as traceability, energy & water consumption, waste management & effluent treatment. There are 3 levels of certification (Gold, Silver, Bronze) based on the tannery's level of achievement against the protocol.

How do you minimize waste in your practices?

It is with great pride that we comply with the Leather Working Group’s standards. 95% of our products are made in tanneries that are Gold-certified by the Leather Working Group. We work collaboratively with our partners to find new ways of utilizing scraps and minimizing impact. We’re also invested in the product’s remaining lifecycle. We created Leather Care Products to help our customers take care of their bags, we facilitate repairs for your Cuyana pieces, and our in-store Leather Spa will soon reopen for light cleaning and refreshing.

To learn more, head to our sustainability page here.

This is fewer, better.

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