Leather

IN TUNE WITH NATURE. Managing the wild red deer population in Switzerland results in some 15,000 hides being discarded each year. In the fall of 2017, Cervo Volante began collecting a portion of these hides from hunters and local butchers to make our natural leather.

This leather bears traces of a life lived in the wild: scars, wrinkles, and scratches attest to its authenticity. All leather destined for Cervo Volante products is prepared in the canton of Bern using a traditional, purely vegetable-based barrel tanning method that is free of chromium and synthetic pre-tanning agents. We make a point of using plant extracts that are sourced sustainably in Europe whenever possible, such as those derived from acorns gathered by hand in Turkey.

The addition of various plants during the barrel tanning process lends our leather an olive-brown, sand, or cognac color; iron oxide and charcoal are used to create our dark brown and black hues.

This image of a red deer was kindly provided by Markus Stähli, wildphoto.ch.

Our leather is “organic”, because there is nothing more “organic” than a leather from red deer that has lived a long and happy life in the wild and been hunted sustainably. Despite that, the official organic label (like those of Bio-Suisse) is only awarded to agricultural products like cattle or calves.

Pure Gold in the world of leather: Valonea oak tanned red deer skins made by Zeller in Steffisburg, Switzerland.

The smooth leather

The leather industry in Central Europe has declined significantly over the past years. In Switzerland, 4 small tanneries have survived, two of which specialise in vegetable tanning of small animal hides and cattle hides. The tanning processes are not automated and require a lot of manual work. In those tanneries, with the necessary know-how, only small batches can be tanned at a time (up to 200 deer skins per tanning).

Thanks to the close cooperation with the Zeller tannery, traditional barrel tanning without synthetic pre-tanning agents and the use of vegetable tanning agents from Europe could be reactivated. In this way, our ecological Cervo Volante leather is produced in a process lasting 2 months.

Jürg Zeller’s first words when he saw the metamorphosis of the wonderful VoVo Leather into the shoes were: „Dä würeni de grad näh..!“ (“This I would love to have for myself …”)

The velvet leather

The incredibly soft velvet leather is one of the finest among suedes and nubuks. Our red deer hides are tanned exclusively with codfish oil by our German partner Kolesch, according to ancient tradition (old-sage or old-chamoise). The oil tanning agent is beaten into the skin with heavy wooden mallets.

Thanks to exclusive use of environmentally friendly substances, after depilation the deer skins will be rinsed in a creek. Only wood dyes are used for colouring and skins are hand-brushed on the hairy side of the leather. The entire tanning process takes almost a whole year, during which the tanner manipulates the leather about 300 times…
Pure traditional and ecological craftsmanship!

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