Does Kate Spade Use Real Leather?

Kate spade leather handbags

When you think of designer handbags, Kate Spade New York is perhaps one of the names you think of immediately. While they make beautiful fashion accessories, you may wonder if Kate Spade uses real leather in their products. 

Do they? Read on to find out.

Are all Kate Spade bags and purses leather? 

Not all Kate Spade bags are made of leather. Some are made of calf hair, wicker, straw, canvas, and nylon. Those that are made of leather comprise Saffiano or cross-hatched leather, pebbled leather, or smooth Italian leather. 

The company also uses wool, tweed, linen, etc. as alternatives to leather. But most bags/purses, whether they are made of leather or not, tend to have leather trims or handles on them. 

But a majority of Kate Spade purses and bags use authentic leather of different kinds.

What type of leather does Kate Spade use? 

Kate Spade mainly uses cow-hide leather in its purses and handbags.

One of the primary leathers used is Saffiano leather. It is leather derived from calf hide. It has a traditional crossover, a transverse design that is imprinted on the leather using machines. It is a very durable, and resistant leather that is very hard to scratch or damage. Saffiano leather is waterproof as well.

Suede is also used in some Kate Spade purses and bags. Suede is a type of leather that is derived from the under the skin of animals such as sheep, goats, pigs, deer, etc. It is often mistaken to be different from leather but is actually a variant of it.  

Suede uses the underside of animal skin which is soft as compared to pure leather that uses the exterior hide. Suede is more pliable and smooth; it is softer and supple as compared to traditional leather which is marked by its toughness and rigidity. 

In some ways, you can say Suede is a kind of unfinished leather — it can be a little more difficult to clean because of its velvety texture.

Some Kate Spade bags and purses are also made from pebbled leather. This is also a cowhide/calfskin leather that is rolled over by a machine press that has pebble-like indentations to give the bag’s exterior a grainy, coarse effect.

Italian leather is also used to manufacture purses and bags at Kate Spade New York. Italian leather is very much like other cowhide leather, but it is treated using vegetable tanning and other natural processes which is a trademark of the Tuscan region. 

Italian leather is more resistant due to the process used to treat the leather. But it also makes the leather softer and more flexible as compared to others. It also has an inimitable smell, which is characteristic of, and caused by the distinctive treatment procedure.

The bags and purses in the latest Kate Spade catalog also feature crocodile-embossed leather. Crocodile-embossed leather or mock-croc is cowhide or sheep-hide leather that is imprinted with crocodile skin patterns using a rolling metal press. This allows the leather to have the look and feel of real reptile skin. 

ALSO READ: Does Michael Kors use real leather?

Where does Kate Spade leather come from? 

The leather used in Kate Spade bags and purses is mainly sourced from Italy and a couple of countries in Asia. The tanneries in these countries provide much of the leather as confirmed by the company itself.

Countries like China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines manufacture Kate Spade bags and purses, but most of their products are bags and purses made of fabric, nylon, wicker, etc. The calfskin, suede, Saffiano leathers are mainly produced in Italy.

Does Kate Spade use vegan leather or faux leather?

Over the years, the company has moved into the production of more animal-friendly and environment-friendly products. Kate Spade has gone fur-free and has also begun using more natural materials as components.

These include straw, wicker, cork, etc. So overall it is more sustainable. 

Kate Spade has a few vegan options that do not feature leather at all. Bags may be made of canvas, nylon, straw, etc. that are all vegan materials. So the bag itself could be vegan. 

In addition, Kate Spade uses vegan leather but does not label them as such. 

Vegan leather is made up of mainly polyurethane or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) i.e. plastic and its variants and even more, sustainable vegan leather can be made from pineapple skin, fruit waste, and recycled plastic. 

Kate Spade uses the PVC form of vegan leather in a few of its products, although it is not labeled as vegan leather. But the components that are used to make it qualify as vegan.  

So it is difficult to say with complete certainty whether these Kate Spade products are vegan leather or not since they are not marketed under this label, but they use the components. 

Faux leather is also made using plastic and plastic derivatives. It is finished off with a coating of wax to give it a sheen and a leather-like texture. It is quite similar to vegan leather, except that vegan leather also uses fruit waste, cork, and other natural components. 

But for all intents and purposes, vegan leather and faux leather are the same categories since they use largely plastic. So Kate Spade does offer faux leather bags and purses as well, although once again they do not market it by this label.

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How do you clean Kate Spade leather? 

You can rub the surface of the leather bag with a warm damp cloth and any mild soap. This works for a routine cleaning on any type of leather. After the bag is rubbed and the surface dirt is removed it should be left to dry. 

To remove oily or greasy patches or blotches, a damp cloth should be used with a gentle leather cream. Once this is done, a dry towel can be used to wipe down any soap or water. 

If the bag or purse becomes wet from rain, use a soft and dry cloth to gently soak up the moisture from the bag’s exterior. 

This cleaning process is the same regardless of whether the bag is made of Saffiano or pebbled leather, although leather creams can erode the Saffiano leather coating. So soap is a better fix for Saffiano.

Home remedies for cleaning should be avoided as much as possible since the damage to the bag cannot be predicted. In addition, when using the leather cream, its use must be proportionate to the size and the requirements of the handbag. Too much cream can damage your bag or purse. 

If there are ink stains or other colorants, you should take them for professional restoration, rather than try at-home fixes. This should be done as soon as possible since delay can make the stains more stubborn and difficult to remove.



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Anand Srinivasan
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