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WS Well Worn: Leather Aging

August 27, 2015

If you follow us on Instagram (@winter_session) or have been keeping tabs on this blog, you've probably seen images of well-worn WS goods taken by our customers months (or even years!) after their purchase. Maybe you've wondered: "Why does this leather look different from the product photos on the Winter Session website?" Or "Why are they always mentioning the "patina" or "aging" of leather?"

Leather, a natural material made by treating the hide of an animal in order to preserve it, changes color when exposed to its surrounding environment. If you spend a lot of time outside exploring, you will get a suntan (or burn). Leather, too, becomes deeper and richer in color when exposed to sunlight. Natural oils also affect the color of the leather, as well as help it to maintain its integrity and strength. To prepare our leather for the aging process, we apply a coat of Neatsfoot oil to our natural leather before assembling our bags and keychains. Later, as your wallet, key chain, or bag handles come into contact with your skin's natural oils, the leather will continue to deepen in color and soften to the touch. Just like we carry our scars with us, your leather wallet or bag will continue to collect marks and memories of all the places it travels with you.

While all of our leather products will change and acquire a patina over time, this process is most obvious on our items that are made from natural, undyed leather, such as our Natural Garrison handles or our Key Chain -- which we make from high quality vegetable-tanned hides from Hermann Oak Tannery in St. Louis. 

After months of use, the leather begins to change. It feels softer and smoother to the touch, and the color becomes warmer and deeper. It's a fun process to see! Our natural leather has been only lightly oiled in our shop before becoming being attached to your bag or key ring. This way, you get to see the leather details of your bag or key chain age and change over time, gaining a beautiful deep patina to tell the tale of your adventures. 

We wish you many happy adventures with your WS companion, and we invite you to share your well-worn WS pieces with the hashtag #WSinthewild on Instagram.