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Design Notes: Croc Texture

Words by Jessie Wong

Hand tipping in process in Santa Croce, Italy.

As a brand synonymous with buttery soft deer nappa, you may be wondering about our first foray into skins of other provenance. This is the story of how our beloved Croc leather came to be. Spoiler: no crocodiles were harmed in the making of Yu Mei leather goods.

In October 2019, Jessie and Adrian made their annual pilgrimage to the Lineapelle Leather Fair in Milan, the Mecca of all trade fairs, to source new and interesting skins. From here, they took a train through the picturesque Italian countryside to two boutique tanneries for a first-hand look at how the embossed croc leather from our Spring 20 collection is made.

Tanning & Embossing

The process starts with cowhide that’s tanned to a base colour - in this case, our ruby-red Tamarillo hue. Each skin is then individually embossed through a press with custom metal plates from a library of over 3000 patterns.

Tipping

Once embossed, the skins go through a ‘tipping’ process where a darker tint is painted over the skin to emphasise the texture and create dimension. This is done entirely by the hand and eye of a skilled artisan.

Founder Jessie Wong, inspecting the quality at Samanta Tannery, Santa Croce.

Finishing

A matte or gloss finish is then applied to the skin to seal in the colour before they are hung to dry. Once the skins have passed thorough quality control testing, they are packaged up and sent to our manufacturer in Dongguan to be made into beautiful Yu Mei leather goods.

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