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Leather leader

Leather leader

Think leather isn’t a sustainable material? Think again, says Gusti Leather. The German-based brand produces a range of vintage travel bags, wallets and pencil cases.

Obviously this leather is a by-product of meat slaughter (more specifically, animals used for halal meat production), although Gusti is vehemently against the killing of animals purely for their fur or skin. However, in many other ways, it’s typical of the brands we champion at Lawfully Chic, which are generally focused on creating top quality products that have a long life span.

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Gusti’s leather is tanned and dyed using vegetable-based solutions that eradicate the need for chemicals. It is soaked in water-based solution containing various tree barks (like mimosa), indigo, saffron and poppy, and is then left for around two weeks. After that it is sun-dried, which gives it a lovely golden brown tone. Each item is unique: no two pieces of natural leather look the same and Gusti also offers a ‘one of a kind’ service in which, in the brand’s home of Rostock, personalised designs can be sewn on to bags. Each product is delivered to its new owner with a small pot of colourless leather balsam derived from plants, such as castor oil and rice bran. This can be used to boost the shine of the leather or to cover any scuffs or scratches.

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Founded in 2011 in Northern Germany by Christian Pietsch, Gusti Leder (as it is called locally) was born out of the business graduate’s travels to India and Morocco – two of the three countries (the third being Pakistan) from which almost all the leather used by Gusti is ethically sourced. Three years on, Pietsch still regularly sends new designs and ideas to the small, family-run businesses that produce Gusti’s pieces, in addition to making spontaneous visits to ensure that the manufacturers are adhering to regulations on fair working conditions and fair payment.

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The sustainability of leather, says Pietsch, is reflected in the intention that these are to be one-off pieces that will last a lifetime. They’re very reasonably priced (ranging from around £30 up to £80 for handbags, more for luggage and less for wallets) and can be bought online via ebay and Amazon, as well as on Gusti’s website: www.gusti-leather.co.uk.