REN's Pigskin, Secrets of "HALLIE".

REN's Pigskin, Secrets of "HALLIE".


With the concept of "RE New STANDARD"

REN proposes new standards by removing preconceptions and redefining them with our own sense of values.The symbol of it is the pig leather "HALLIE", a standard material. In this issue, we focus on the background of this material.It unravels various mysteries, from the story of its birth to the origin of its name, which even the staff of REN did not know.


The new value of "leather"

About 15 years ago.When we had just launched our brand, cowleather was the mainstream of leater'category around us.It seemed as if justice was done to those tanned with vegetable tannins and free of blemishes and uneven colors.The high quality that could be seen at a glance that was admired by many people who likes leather.Of course, we had no objection to this.However, on the other hand, we were looking for new materials in search of our own unique value.



That's when we discovered pigskin.It was durable (especially resistant to friction), lightweight, and breathable, but at the time was often used as bag linings and shoe insoles. The reasons for this may have included the conspicuous pores, the fact that it was easily scratched due to the environment in which it was raised, thereby causing uneven coloration, and preconceived notions about the sound of "pig".

We felt such the unknown potential of pig leather.



Preconceived notion of "unusable"

When cutting parts, we identify "usable" and "unusable" parts from a piece of leather.In the case of pigskin, only about 60% of a piece of leather is "usable" in terms of general values.This is not a good ratio.The more "unusable" parts, the higher the cost. And above all, the more materials are wasted.

We needed a change in thinking.



We began to view flaws and uneven coloring, which we had previously assumed to be "unusable," as unique characteristics of the pigskin. Then, we were able to increase the percentage of "usable" parts to 80-90%.



「I don't mind that. It's lovely.」

From then on, every time we touched pigskin, we would discover its charm day by day.

It is lightweight anyway, and its high density makes it thin but strong.It also has a suppleness as if it were made of cloth bags. Furthermore, since pork is consumed in large quantities in Japan, raw hides can be procured domestically as a byproduct of this consumption.This cycle is also in line with REN's value of not wanting to waste raw materials.

We were confident that we had made it that way. However, it was unknown how many people would accept the product.

"We don't think it will sell at our place." or "Scratches or uneven color could lead to complaints."
We proposed products to buyers of select stores, but the response was never positive, and we sometimes felt frustrated that our particular ideas were not being received.



However, when we finally managed to hold a pop-up store in a department store, we received a far more positive response than we had expected from the customers who visited the store.

When I asked them about scratches and uneven coloration, they replied, "I don't mind that. It's lovely." Many people liked it sensibly. However, our beliefs were confirmed when we came into direct contact with customers who actually use our products.



Sense and unwavering perspective in cutting

How to cut and assemble leather. We learn through further experience and gain an unwavering perspective.



The most important thing is to take advantage of the best quality parts of the leather.The back of the pig is thicker and of uniform density. The first priority is to select this part as the center, and cut it in such a way that scratches and uneven coloring are as inconspicuous as possible.The addition of a little belly to it creates suppleness and lightness.Since no two pieces of leather are alike, this process is a testament to the skill of the cutter.



In addition, the appearance of scratches and unevenness in color will vary depending on the type of dye used and the leather's compatibility with the dye.Compared to dark colors such as black, light colors such as beige are characterized by shallow dye penetration.

We study the differences in density and texture of different parts of the leather, as well as dyes, and have developed a method that wastes as little leather as possible.



What is the origin of the name REN's pigskin"HALLIE"?

By the way, why did they name this leather "HALLIE"?

In considering the name of the material, we were particular about making the name as unassociated with existing inherent things as possible, just as we did with the brand name "REN".Rather than choosing a name that can be associated with the characteristics of the product or a name that is easy to understand and remember from the beginning, we wanted the product to gradually become familiar over the years. We wanted to express such a wish.

The story of "The Three Little Pigs" suddenly came to mind.While researching, I learned of a collector of fairy tales named James Orchard Halliwell Phillips.So I decided to name it "HALLIE" after him.

In fact, even the REN staff does not know much about this naming secret.Still, everyone uses a pig-leather bag called a "HALLIE" on a daily basis.They seem to be as beloved today as their name wishes them to be.




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