Luxury is defined as ‘an inessential, desirable item which is expensive or desirable to obtain’.
Although there is no definitive description as to what constitutes a luxury leather wallet there are a number of aspects which distinguish a luxury leather wallet from mid to low level wallets. We outline these below.
Firstly and perhaps most importantly is the quality of bovine leather used. Full-grain calf leather is used for the best wallets due to both its buttery soft feel and durabilty. Many leather wallets are made using top-grain leather from either calf or cow. Top-grain leather has been sanded or buffed to remove the very top dermis layer found on full-grain leather, usually to remove any scratches or other imperfections. Using a full-grain luxury leather rather than a top-grain leather means that the leather has a tighter grain, is more water resistant and takes on a beautiful patina over time. This patina is what makes leather goods so loved and treasured by so many. At CREEL we pride ourselves on sourcing the finest, most luxurious full-grain calf leather, thus ensuring that when owning a CREEL wallet it will improve over time and last longer than top-grain wallets. A CREEL luxury leather wallet, much like a fine wine, will only get better with age!
Many luxury leather wallets incorporate some type of "exotic leather". Most people are familiar with the more well known types such as crocodile, lizard and python but far fewer realise that leather can also be made from any animal skin including fish: salmon, zander and wolf-fish being most commonly used and tanned in much the same way as any other leather. Fish leather is often mistaken for lizard or snake skin due to its look and texture. However, unlike many traditional exotic leathers fish leather rarely uses species that are either endangered, semi-endangerded or killed primarily for their skins. Accordingly most fish leathers, including salmon, have the advantage of being eco-friendly.
If the external leather of a wallet is its main body, the interior lining provides its inner strength much like a skeleton. Many luxury leather wallet brands use polyester or nylon lining fabrics. These fabrics although highly functional in terms of strength and lack of stretchability seem incongruous within a truly luxury leather wallet where one would expect all materials to be natural.
Silk is one of the strongest natural fabrics on the planet, is very pleasing to our sense of touch and beautiful to the eye as it refracts light to shimmer. This shimmer or iridescence is highlighted with shot silks (two-tone) that use different silk thread colours within the same woven fabric. At CREEL we always use silk, usually shot silks, for our wallet linings. Cotton twill and other natural fabrics can, and often are, used for linings but lack the strength and beauty of silk.
CREEL sources the finest dupion silks for our wallet linings, ensuring the interior matches the luxuriousness of the leather.
The best edging for a fine luxury leather wallet is the Turned Edge.
The other types of edging include:
There are a lot of brands that use either an edge coating or burnished edge on their wallets. The problem with this is that as the edge is just cut, sanded and covered with a resin (edge coated) or just sanded and varnished the edges over time will degrade and deteriorate. At CREEL, we always use a turned edge on our wallets. This is achieved by skiving the edges of the leather panel before it is folded over (Turned) and stitched. A sign of a properly turned edge is that when you run your finger over the edge, there is no discernable lip.
A properly constructed corner will have a pleated edge. In less well made wallets the corners are square, with the leather cut and folded to create the corner.
However, this weakens the leather. A luxury wallet will have a rounded edge with pleats stitched in, holding the leather in place.
Finally, any luxury leather wallet should include creases to accentuate linear features on the wallet, normally just below the credit card slots and the outer borders of some of the individual leather panels. These are effected with a hot iron creating a permanent crease or linear indenation in the leather.
This is an aesthetic level to detail one would expect to see in a genuinely luxury leather wallet but is rarely used on the less expensive wallet types/designs.
The features and construction techniques outlined above require very high levels of leatherwoking skill, care, craftsmanship and time. At CREEL we adhere to a no compromise quality ethic. We make luxury leather wallets deserving of this title.