This is the precious secret of leather that people like. ~Visit Pigskin "HALLIE" 's tannery.~

This is the precious secret of leather that people like. ~Visit Pigskin "HALLIE" 's tannery.~

Date : 2024/3/7


This is the precious secret of leather that people like.
~Visit Pigskin "HALLIE"'s tannery.~


Have you ever heard of the fairy tale "The Three Little Pigs"?

The story begins with three little pigs each building a house of different materials.Compared to straw and wood, brick houses were the slowest and most laborious to make.However, the time and effort spent will eventually produce great gains.


The result of making something is more useful if it takes more time and effort than if it is done quickly. The same lesson can be said for "HALLIE"'s leather making.

We visited Sumida City,Tokyo. There is our important partner, tannery "Nishino Leather".



First, there is something I really want you to know if you decide to read this article.In other words, Harry's entire production process is the result of "craftsmanship and care".All of these processes are beautiful, detailed, and precious, and none of them can be done mechanically.

Among them, I will confide three "craftsmanship and care" in this issue.


1. Timing

First, all of REN's leather is a byproduct. "HALLIE"'s raw materials also come from the pigs we thankfully eat every day.Raw hides are transported from pig farms to tanneries via meat processing plants.At this stage, the hairs are still attached.As a pretreatment, wash, dissolve the hairs, and peel them into two pieces.

The hide of an animal itself is thick, so they shave the inside of the hide to make it as thin.
「shave the inside of the hide to make it as thin.」In Japan, this is called "漉き"(Su-Ki).



"It's really a race against time here. That's especially true during the hot summer months. As soon as the raw hides arrive, we need to finish the work in the cool of the morning."



Yoshinobu Nishino, the representative of "Nishino Leather" told us slowly, as if he were trying to appeal to us.

He continued. "Since we are dealing with pigs that were alive the day before yesterday, the skin is inevitably damaged over time. Even though they are pickled in salt to prevent decomposition, small holes begin to appear. Some people give up on it as such, but we don't want to give up until the very end."



We asked him about a memorable episode related to this. On a scorching summer day, he saw a truck carrying raw hides taking a leisurely break at a convenience store."Get them to the shade as soon as possible!" He felt like he couldn't stay.

I can't help but worry about things that others don't seem to care about. The result may be a small difference, but I don't want to give up until the end.

Such virtues of him were fully utilized in the subsequent process.



2. Temperature

Today, the number of tanneries specializing in pigskin tanning has decreased dramatically, and it is said that there are now fewer than 10 tanneries in Japan.

This technique uses a cylindrical machine called a drum to soften the leather.

The key to this process was "temperature".


"There's a certain temperature that's just right for the chemicals to get in. Roughly, the final temperature should be between 37 and 38 degrees Celsius. The temperature varies depending on the season and the climate. It's very delicate, because the temperature varies depending on the number of rotations of the drum."


"Therefore, we pay attention to details such as whether to set the temperature for the day at 25°C or 30°C, how many hours to rotate the DRUM, etc. This adjustment is the skill of our tanners."



Once the leather is tanned, it moves on to the dyeing process. Again, temperature is important.

"If the dye temperature is too high, only the surface will be dyed. If the temperature is too low, the core is dyed, but the surface is not dyed well. That is why we decide the approximate temperature at the beginning based on our experience."


Being born in Japan, where the four seasons change distinctly, we are sensitive to temperature. Perhaps it is because we "feel" these minute differences that good leather is born.


3. How to stretch leather

As I fearfully climbed the slender stairs of the factory to the second floor, we see artisans nailing leather to boards with nails, accompanied by the powerful sound of "gahn, gahn.
This is the process of drying leather.

In the case of tanned leather, everything is stretched on a board. This is unique to our company," he says proudly.

The high level of skill and care at "Nishino Leather" is backed up by this very process. So, what does this "planking" mean?



Before explaining this, it is necessary to first explain the process of tanning leather.

Currently, there are two main types of tanning methods. Chrome tanning and vegetable tanning.
Chrome tanning is less prone to change or discoloration, is constant, and is resistant to water and high heat. Pigskin "HALLIE" is subjected to this chrome tanning process in pursuit of soft texture and color.

However, "Nishino Leather" also handles "vegetable tanning",which is more difficult.

In this case, the leather becomes curled and stiff as the moisture is removed, so it is necessary to "stretch the leather, shape it, and dry it" rather than simply drying it. Although there are more efficient ways of stretching leather, the company dares to use the time-consuming old-fashioned method, which has been used to this day.

Why? We asked.



"The leather will lose weight," he said. It gets thinner."


If too much tension is applied, the leather will be larger, but the thickness will be uneven between the center and the surrounding area, resulting in a lower yield. This means that the "usable portion" of the leather when it is made into a product is reduced, resulting in a lot of waste.

"The more area of leather that is pulled, the higher the price of a piece of leather and the more profitable it is. But when I think about the faces of the people who make the products.... You know."

He had a kind look on his face.


"The method is a little different, but the underlying idea in making Harry is the same. Instead of pulling hard, you just adjust the ripples. It's like gently stretching a wrinkle."



Competence needed even from overseas

Mr. Nishino was in the Philippines until 20 years ago.They had their own factory there and worked with European brands such as German, Italian, and Dutch.

"I had to be stationed there because production was so high. If I didn't finish a really good product, the orders would stop coming in. It was a lot of work."

Him "craftsmanship and care" was invaluable to them in their quest for quality.


"After all, producing leather is always fraught with problems. How to solve them is important. I went back to Japan after that, and many foreign customers told me, 'Please come back again!'".

However, he clearly tells them.

"No, I'm not going back."


Pigskin "HALLIE" is what it is today because Mr. Nishino was in Sumida City. And we would like to deliver REN's "HALLIE" products to you along with his passion for leather.




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