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We’re assuming that if you are reading this article you are a conscious consumer who is looking for something that will last. After all, you are here aren’t you, learning in order to make a thoughtful purchase.

Longevity is one of Linden is Enough's core values. So as you dive deep into this blog post, know that we hold it as a golden standard and most likely every assessment criteria we establish here will somehow touch upon durability. After all, we believe that your leather bag should last a lifetime, and that’s what we aim for in our talk and our walk!


Why leather?

It comes right down to it: durability! Leather is one of the most resistant natural materials known to and used by man since the dawn of time. It is incredibly strong while still offering a number of other important and desirable features such as feel, flexibility, look, status, etc.

If you are getting your leather bag from a specialized brand such as Linden is Enough all the better. A master leathersmith and a skilled team of craftspeople will know how to work with leather in a variety of ways to meet each item’s desired result. When used correctly, quality leather doesn’t always need to look and feel the same.

A top quality leather bag is also a status symbol in many circles. At first pretty much any item fresh out of the store will look good enough to the naked eye. And a sophisticated design can easily disguise poor craftsmanship. However, with time, as the bag deteriorates, low quality really starts to show - and so does low investment.

A well made leather bag is guaranteed to last for years. But if it only were as simple as grabbing any leather bag off the rack…


Know your Leather

First off, if you are going to buy well, you need to know the basics about leather. The same way you wouldn’t go off buying a computer without understanding it’s features, or a skincare product without knowing if its composition works for you, if you’re going to invest into a quality - and potentially pricey - leather bag, you should know what makes it worthwhile.

The basics to take into consideration when shopping for leather goods are leather grade and tanning process. These two criteria should be enough for you to really get a feel of how top end the product really is.

A quick disclaimer: in less specialized stores, most likely sales people will not be educated or trained enough on the subject to inform the leather grade or tanning technique of the products being sold. Specially if they are lower quality, the people on the sales floor won’t even know where these items are coming from.

Alternatively, they might know quite well and be shady about it, which is even worse, but unfortunately happens a lot. So we would like to help you learn how to recognize these important leather quality indicators.


Full-grain leather: The Crème de la Crème

Let’s start with leather grades. The grade of your hide has a direct effect on the quality of the finished product. After all, a dish is only as fresh as the ingredients used, right? It’s no different when it comes to leather bags.

All our leather goods here at Linden is Enough are made from full-grain leather. To keep matters short: full-grain leather is the best quality available. What it means is that the top, outmost, layer of the animal’s skin is left intact. The result are stable and durable fibers because that top grain has not been removed or altered in any way. 

How to spot full-grain leather, you ask? Full-grain leather is often thicker than other grades, specially genuine and split. Because the top layer is left intact, it isn't snuffed, sanded, buffed or painted, and thus displays any natural scuffs, marks, wrinkles, or imperfections resulting from the animal’s lifetime.

Those rare few of us who offer full-grain leather will try hard to avoid hides that are over damaged for a few reasons. Firstly, you don’t want to buy animal byproducts from sources that mistreat the animals during life, which would leave many marks and scars. Secondly, full-grain leather products are expensive to make, meaning they are a bit more expensive to buy also - a pricey item must meet a certain criteria, nobody wants a scuffed up bag.

That being said, we also work hard here at Linden to avoid waste. So small blemishes and scuffs are welcome here. We wouldn’t want those high quality hides to go unused and disposed of just because of little marks which we actually believe add a lot of character to the bag.

The point is, scuffs and marks might be a little harder to identify on just any product out there. All full-grain leather items are completely unique, because they carry the actual animal’s characteristics, much like our own skin. What you can look out for as a dead giveaway are wrinkles. The amount and depth will of course depend on the age and species of the animal, but real full grain leather will look like your own skin!

Another great visual indicator is the color. This might take a bit more experience to identify, but the color of a full-grain bag won’t be completely uniform, will hold a lot of depth and a gorgeous patina. Because, again, that top layer of hide is like our own skin, it soaks in the tannins and dyes heterogeneously. This about when your skin is tanned and sun kissed during summer. You are not entirely a single shade like the Simpsons!

If you are looking around different shops you are unlikely going to find full-grain leather. Usually only very high end or authentic traditional brands work with such a rare and special material. Most are looking to produce cheaply, so what you will find will be a lower grade of leather, if it is leather at all.

Lower grades such as genuine (nope, that’s not another word for luxury or authenticity), split, and bonded are often very thin and don’t feel as sturdy. Additionally, they have no character, so the surface of the product is completely uniform, no wrinkles, marks, etc.

This uniformity often looks almost plastic. It's that type of leather that makes you question “is this real?” - the kind of thing you instinctively won’t need to ask when you see full-grain. In fact, some of it actually is plastic, because lower grades can at times be such poor quality or the damaged remains of the process of separating the higher grains, that they are coated with a vinyl type material or completely painted over.

You guessed it: the color will most likely be a giveaway: like the Simpsons! Also, leather with patterns, prints, or metallic finishes, are always lower quality hides because in order to achieve those unnatural effects, the leather is covered by a layer of plastic and then stamped on, or painted. It wouldn’t be wise for manufacturers to use such a luxury grade as full-grain just to cover it up with something else. So unless a pattern is embossed onto the leather, you can trust that it’s a layer of anything but. Some brands even stamp patterns onto lower grains that mimic the natural wrinkles of full-grain!

So now you know that leather goods such as ours here at Linden is Enough that have that rugged, “less perfect” look are actually a sign of extremely high quality!



Another quality criteria we find crucial is the leather tanning process your hide underwent, whether it is full grain or not. The tanning process is the treatment that the leather receives at the tannery to soften, condition, and dye it for leather craft.

Vegetable tanned leather, as the name suggests, is a tanning technique that uses natural, vegetable-based, dyes and oils. This is the most traditional, rare, and earth-friendly leather treatment method out there. And yes, all Linden is Enough bags are also vegetable tanned!

Despite being a secular craft, veg tanning is extremely rare nowadays and most often offered by traditional, family owned, tanneries. The majority of the leather on the market, roughly 90%, is chrome-tanned. Which is, opposite to veg tanned, full of chemicals that are harmful to our environment and to the people that are doing the work of processing the hides!

Due to its organic nature, vegetable tanning results in a chemical free and very pure product that doesn’t flood our waters with chrome and harmful metals, and is biodegradable at the end of its super long lifetime.

Initially, veg tanned leather is a bit more stiff, which makes it ideal for creating items that are highly resistant, such as our bags. With use the leather grows to become more malleable and soft. Speaking of aging, vegetable tanned leather really tends to get better over time and develop a rich patina with use.

As you wear and enjoy your Linden is Enough leather bag you will notice it darkening over the years. This happens because this chemical-free leather, like your own skin, naturally soaks in environmental factors such as sun light or the oils transferred from your hands. This is a beautiful and rewarding process which over a lifetime of use will guarantee you with an item that is absolutely unique to you! 

So let's talk about how to spot vegetable tanned leather when shopping. The most obvious indicator will be color. Veg tanned leather results in a unique, rich, and deep color that chrome tanning cannot achieve. The color will not be completely uniform and will have a beautiful patina, as mentioned above. If the product you are looking at is completely uniform in color, it's safe to say it was chemically tanned and dyed.

Another characteristic you can look for is odor. Vegetable tanned leather has that awesome classic leather smell, a unique and natural fragrance which is sweet, woody, and rich! You certainly won't find that special aroma on leathers that are chemically treated. So sniff away!


Hardware and Zippers

Since we’re talking about raw materials, another important factor to consider is the hardware used on your bag. After all, what use is having top quality leather if the hardware is going to give in after a few months of use?

When it comes to zippers, the best available are YKK zippers. That’s what we use here at Linden is Enough as well. They are extremely solid and slide smoothly when opening and closing. YKK is the most reliable zip you can get!

As for other bit and bobs, such as d-rings, closures, buckles, etc, you really want them to be solid. Don’t go for hollow or worse yet plastic hardware. It won’t last and you will regret it! Solid brass is the best you can wish for and is something you should really prioritize!


Size and Functionality

Now that you know what kind of leather you are after, it’s time to think about the bag itself. If our goal as conscious consumers is to buy a leather bag that is going to last a lifetime, we need to think about practicality.

What is the need you are trying to meet with this bag? Are you looking for a leather bag for the office? Or maybe you need that perfect leather bag for University? Or maybe what you need is an everyday bag that will transition smoothly through all your activities and environments.

Here at Linden we truly think about the functionality of our products and try to make them as adaptable and practical as possible. For example, our Classic Messenger Bags, can be converted into backpacks for a comfortable comute by adding backpack straps to your purchase.

Additionally theses handmade briefcases come in two sizes developed specifically to fit your 13” and 15” laptop. Inside you will find a computer sleeve made to measure, slip pockets, and pen holders. We’re looking to make your experience stylish, practical, and forever!

Other items such as our Soft Leather Convertible Clutch and our Overnight Tote with Zipper also come ready to attach an additional shoulder strap if that kind of ease is what our customers are looking for.

We’re all for the tiny chic handbag of the ultra thin portfolio, but if we’re looking for a bag that will get any job done and last a lifetime, it should fit your needs!


Style and Design

Ok, so you want your leather bag to be great quality, long lasting, super practical, adapt to different moments and needs. We’re totally with you. But you want it to do all that and look great while doing it! Got it!

Your favorite leather bag needs to be stylish and help you achieve that perfect look. You will be wearing it for hours a day, on many occasions and most likely for countless years to come. So your bag should be timeless and elegant.

We know how quick it can be to jump on the trend band wagon. But we urge you to ask yourself “will this still be in style in a few seasons?” and “will I still like this bag once everyone else stops wearing it?”.

Linden is Enough is a slow fashion brand. Which means we don’t follow trends or fashion seasonality and our collections are permanent. Our designs are minimal, genderless and timeless. We want you to still be able to wear your perfect handmade leather bag no matter what fashion is dictating that season!

Think about what kind of items are essencial for your wardrobe. For example our best selling Soft Leather Maxi Tote Bag is a staple to any outfit and a must for anyone who need to carry a bit more than just their keys. And you can be sure it won’t go out of style!



We are going to be honest with you here: you’re never going to get all of the above out of a leather bag for super cheap. If you see something that makes you think ‘WOW! What a steal’, you are probably buying into empty promises.

Remember, full-grain leather is the highest quality available. Vegetable tanned leather is extremely rare. Solid hardware doesn’t cost as little as plastic. And good design requires a skilled team. All of these things have a price, as they should!

On the other hand, you don’t need to break the bank at a luxury brand to get your lifetime leather companion. Smaller specialized brands such as ours make top quality items without overspending on massive campaigns, shows, keeping up with the fashion calendar, and developing massive product mixes aimed at pushing consumption.

Because we work closely with small family owned tanneries, our items are all handmade in-house, and our business model is direct to consumer, we are able to offer the highest quality items for super accessible prices!

Sure, it’s still pricey for some, but remember: it is a lifetime investment. The idea here that you will have a one-off cost and not need to shop for a new leather bag for many years to come. A cheaper bag might seem like a steal now, but once it breaks after a few months and you’re back on the market again, you will wish you had invested just a little bit more.


Brand Values

If you are going to be carrying this bag for years and maybe even passing it down to your children one day, you will want to be proud of what you’re showing the world. Consider what your chosen brand stands for and if it aligns with your own values before jumping the gun.

For example, Linden is Enough is a slow-fashion brand with an ethical supply chain. We aim to make items that will truly last so that we can be part of reducing overconsumption and waste. We stick to natural and durable materials and production techniques because we see them as beneficial to all from beginning to end.

If the leather is vegetable tanned, it is less harmful to our environment, biodegradable, and won’t make tannery workers fall ill (chrome will). Plus, these are family businesses we are supporting. A full-grain hide is the least wasteful and most durable, so that’s a double whammy right there!

Having our own in-house handcraft production means we are creating jobs for specialized artisans and highly skilled leathersmiths. We want to keep these art forms alive! Additionally, we avoid a lot of energy overuse by keeping our production as authentic and traditional as possible.

In sum, do you believe in what the brand is doing? if so, your purchase will be all the more meaningful!


Now you’re ready!

You should have enough information now to go off on your hunt for the perfect leather bag and make a conscious purchase you can really be proud of. We can’t wait to know what you chose!

If you have any further questions or need help shopping, please do not hesitate to get in touch via email or Whatsapp. We are always here. Best of luck!

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