If you are a fashion enthusiast, particularly designer bags, you may have heard of Saffiano leather before.
The material has become even more popular than when Mario Prada first created the Saffiano bag in the early 20th century.
Many brands use Saffiano leather to make their own products, including Longchamps, Kate Spade, and Michael Kors.
Saffiano leather may be well recognized, but many people do not understand what Saffiano leather is, or what sets it apart from other types of leather.
You’ll learn more about the material in this post, including what Saffiano leather is, how it is made, and whether it is vegan or not.
Saffiano Leather: A History
Mario Prada was the first person to create Saffiano leather. The Prada house was founded in Milan in 1913, located in the well-known Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II arcade.
Since the fashion house was first established, Prada only sold the highest quality, most luxurious bags and accessories.
The European upper classes soon became aware of Prada. The design house was then made the Official Supplier to the Italian Royals in 1919.
The original Prada store in Milan still exists and has retained a lot of its original characteristics.
Saffiano leather was first made in one of Prada’s Italian workplaces. The leather was patented and made to create the Saffiano in 1913, Prada’s first-ever handbag.
Saffiano handbags are still made today, popular for their appearance, durability, and easy maintenance.
What Does Saffiano Leather Mean?
Saffiano catches the eye as it has a noticeable cross-hatched construction that creates a diagonal pattern.
The leather was first made from calf leather, but now, the Saffiano techniques are used on different types of leather, and even some vegan materials.
Prada’s trademark creation that began in one of Italy’s most well-known workplaces has now traveled all over the world.
It doesn’t matter where or how a material has been produced. If a fabric has a distinguished cross-hatch design, the finished product is generally called a Saffiano.
Today, the Saffiano label concerns the look of a fabric more than the original material. For this reason, bags labeled as Saffiano may be vegan. This makes it harder to answer whether Saffiano leather is or isn’t vegan.
The majority of leather intended for handbags is dyed, but this isn’t the case for Saffiano leather. The material is coated with a color that the designer chooses, and is then cross-hatched later.
You will see the leather’s original hue if the coating layer wears off or is scratched.
A lot of people claim that the Saffiano techniques used on leather provide a strong, man-made-looking result that resembles PVC or PU. This also makes it hard to know if a bag is or isn’t suitable for a vegan lifestyle.
How Saffiano Leather Is Made
Saffiano leather is created with a stamping process. The leather is a textured material, as a machine will emboss the trademark cross-hatch pattern on it.
If a different animal leather or calf hide is used, the material is typically treated with a wax coating.
Saffiano leather is made in three stages:
- The material is placed in the machine which presses the pattern onto the leather.
- The machine is heated to 165°F, then presses on the material for up to 15 seconds.
- After the pattern is stamped on the leather, it is treated with a wax finish.
One of the benefits of Saffiano leather is that the material is easy to clean, durable, water-resistant, and scratch-resistant.
However, others don’t like the artificial texture of the finished leather, believing that the wax coating covers up any of the original leather’s characteristics.
Some also say that you may as well have used artificial fabrics or patent leather instead of Saffiano leather, as the real leather has turned into a material that resembles plastic or vinyl.
Despite this, Saffiano is a popular material choice with many designer fashion houses. Though the leather was exclusive to Prada for several years, other designers have recently begun to use the material for their own creations.
Examples of such designers are Michael Kors, Coach, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, and DKNY.
Is Saffiano Leather Suitable For Vegans?
The original Saffiano leather created by Prada in the 1900s was made from calf leather, so it isn’t vegan.
However, in the modern world, the word Saffiano covers any material which has the trademark cross-hatch design. These materials may be vegan, but others might not be.
It is hard to know whether a Saffiano bag is vegan just from its appearance. The finish makes animal-sourced leather have a synthetic appearance and texture.
The only way of knowing if a Saffiano-type bag is vegan is by looking at the label upon purchase.
You can also enquire with the manufacturer’s customer service team, as they should be able to tell you if your item is vegan or not.
Caring For Saffiano Leather
As Saffiano leather has a synthetic feel to it, caring for the material is relatively easy. Saffiano leather is strong, water-repellent, and durable, so your bag will stay in shape for a long time.
Here are some cleaning tips that can help you take care of your Saffiano handbags:
- Saffiano leather bags can be cleaned easily with a quick wipe, using a soft cloth and clean water.
- leather care products can help protect the Saffiano leather’s textured surface. Apply this with a soft sponge. You can also find lotions and sprays that are suitable for real and faux leather accessories.
- Always see a professional if your Saffiano leather bag scratches or stains. Never try to cover the damage yourself, as you may end up damaging the material in the process.
The Bottom Line
Saffiano leather is a special type of material first made by Prada in the early 1900s. Saffiano leather was once made from calf leather, but is now any material that is treated with its trademark cross-hatch pattern.
This is why some Saffiano bags may be suitable for vegans, provided that the material isn’t sourced from animal matter and has the distinct cross-hatch design.
Some people do not like Saffiano leather as they believe the original leather characteristics have been covered up with a synthetic look. However, this texture makes Saffiano handbags sturdy, durable, and easy to clean.
Saffiano leather bags are an ideal purchase for those that want a good-looking bag with a long lifespan.