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The King guide to living with leather

30 Mar 2021 |  Design


Quality leather only gets better with age. Over time it develops a natural patina and relaxed wear pattern that adds a sense of casual luxury to any spaceBut not all leathers are created equal, so how can you be sure the leather you choose will work for your lifestyle?  

King has sourced quality leather from leading tanneries in Italy and Germany for decades. And with a Leather Collection that spans over six ranges in more than forty signature colours, you can be assured that the brand understands leather. 

Discover everything you need to know about living with leather. 

The art of leather

There are a host of benefits that come with living with leather. First and foremost must be the natural beauty and aging patina of leather. Add to this durability, sustainability, and natural comfort, and its easy to see why people have loved living with leather for centuries. 

As a natural product, leather breathes, regulating your temperature, offering year round comfort no matter the season. Made from animal hide, leather is incredibly durable. It lasts for years and can be repaired easily.  

Quality upholstery leather, like that sourced for King furniture, is a by-product of the dairy and meat industry. Every year over 270 million hides that would otherwise go to waste are recycled to make leather, saving 7 million tons from landfill. 

Like King furniture, quality leather is made to last a lifetime. Timeless and sustainable, choosing leather for your furniture is an investment in the future  

Jasper II

Jasper II in Prestige Saddle - full grain semi-aniline Italian leather.

Truly sustainable

Humans have been using leather for centuries. The oldest known leather shoe was found in an Armenian cave and dates back to over 5500 years ago, which makes it older than the Pyramid of Giza and Stonehenge, a true testament to the longevity of quality leather. 

The way we craft leather has changed dramatically since that first cow-hide shoe was made. And today, the world's leading tanneries are heavily focused on sustainability and comply with strict environmental standards.  

King sources leather from two tanneries in Europe. Both are renowned for their time-honoured craftsmanship and the benchmark set for sustainability in their industry. King chooses to work exclusively with these two suppliers, not only because they produce the finest upholstery leather in the world but also because of their dedicated stance on corporate responsibility. 

Delta III

Delta III in Roma Tan - top grain corrected Italian leather.

If you want to ensure the leather you're choosing is cruelty-free and sustainable, here are the factors you should consider. 

Ethically sourced hides

Knowing that the hide is sourced from countries with strict animal welfare regulations in place, such as Australia, New Zealand, or the European Union, ensures that the animal was well cared for during its life and slaughtered humanely. 

King leather is sourced from quality hides in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. The quality of the hides used for True Touch is so tightly controlled that they are sourced only from one small region in Germany. 

Long-lasting and recyclable

Quality leather lasts a long time and only gets better with age. It’s also easy to repair and recycle. Leather can be ground down to make leatherboard used in shoe insoles and heel inserts in footwear. This is also the case for leather trimmings from the manufacturing process. Leather is also biodegradable, taking between 10 – 50 years to break down.  

The tanning process

Tanning is a chemical process that requires a lot of water; however, over the past twenty years, the world's leading tanneries have led the way and set a high benchmark for environmental responsibility. Tanneries are also highly regulated and subject to both international and government compliance regulations. Since 2003 Italian tanneries, including the one King partners with, have reduced water use by 19%, energy use by 30% and consumption of chemical by 10%.* 

Leading tanneries run their wastewater treatment plants to manage liquid and solid waste. There is also an industry-wide drive toward ZDHC, Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals. This is a non-governmental program that established rules to eliminate hazardous chemicals in textile and leather processing. 

The language of leather

As a luxury product, leather comes with a whole host of terminology. When choosing leather for your furniture it helps to understand these terms. 

Full-grain leather

Regarded as the highest quality leather, full-grain comes from the top layer of the hide and retains all of the natural grain. This means imperfections like scars and wrinkles are shown in the leatherAs a result, only the highest quality hides are chosen for full-grain.

King Cloud III in TrueTouch Ghost German leather

Aniline leather

Prized for its authenticity, the aniline dye process brings out the leather's natural grain, including imperfections like scars or wrinkles. The hide is submerged in a drum of translucent aniline dye to draw out the original characteristics of the hide, but this does not offer any protective layer. Aniline leather marks easily and can be challenging to maintain on an everyday basis. 

Semi-aniline leather

Semi-aniline leather is ideal for furniture, retaining the authentic beauty of aniline leather with two critical distinctions. During the drum dying process, a pigment is added that permeates the hide adding a light protective coating and achieving a rich deep colour without compromising that classic leather look.  

Semi-aniline leathers in the King Leather Collection include Nu Touch, Prestige and True Touch. Prestige has a light protective leather added, while True Touch is treated during the tanning process to ensure the leather is water and stain repellent. 

Top-grain corrected grade leather

Top-grain corrected leather has the outer layer of the hide removed. This is done by buffing and printing sanding back the top layer, so the leather retains its natural feel but achieves a uniform and refined finish with no natural imperfections. With an added layer of protection, corrected leather is robust and easy to maintain. 

Roma and Viva from the King Leather Collection are both top-grain corrected and ideal for achieving the classic look of leather with less maintenance. 

Nubuck leather

Nubuck leather is produced from top-grain hides and has the grain side (outside) buffed back until it has a very small velvety nap. Nubuck is wonderfully smooth, but it is high maintenance and marks very easily. 

Nu Touch from the King Leather Collection creates the matte finish of nubuck leather without maintenance. Durable and hardwearing, this semi-aniline leather is treated with a pigmented protective coating for added resistance.  

Caring for leather

King sources the highest quality leathers to ensure your furniture looks luxurious, is exceptionally durable and extremely comfortable. Leather is a natural product, and as a result has a protective coating that will resist most soiling and spills. However, it still needs to be cared for using suitable products and a gentle touch.

Regular cleaning and conditioning will prolong the life of the leather. King-Care® cleaning and conditioning products are specially formulated for King leathers and will clean and protect to maximise the life of your leather. King-Care® Leather Cleaning Kits can be purchased from King Showrooms or online.

Read the King Product Care Advice for more information about caring for leather.

*Source UNIC 2017 Sustainability Report.

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