It is a sad world sometimes. Europe worries about what it is really eating, and Chinese consumers prefer to come to Europe to buy luxury goods to avoid spending good money on fakes at home.
And the leather industry is not immune. The Tanning Extract Producers Federation Limited (TEFL) has had to take full page advertisements in trade magazines to warn that fake products are being sold around the world claiming to be mimosa or quebracho extract with high tan contents. Independent analysis now shows that these products contain little or no tan.
It is hard to believe that it is worth anyone’s while to behave so badly, and illegally. I have enjoyed working with vegetable tans since my student vacation days working at Barrow Hepburn’s tannery in Beverley, Hodgsons. The clarity of colour, the profound touch and feel of the leather produced is unsurpassable when well done and put into the correct articles.
I spent a summer vacation in Newark, New Jersey with George Alt selling wattle to the tanners on the east coast of the USA. It was a great experience and George’s expertise with the material was quite amazing.
The idea that such leathers can be tainted and ruined by false claims is hard to bear. I was pleased to have a chance to speak about LeatherNaturally! at a TEFL meeting last autumn and like how the organisation manages its business.
Let us hope that the industry can effectively put these producers of fake product out of business promptly.