Our choices of tanning and tannery
Tanning is all the processes used to transform the skin into rot-proof leather*, more or less supple, soft, velvety, elastic. It is also at the tannery that the leather will be worked, colored, softened, nubuck...
It is a real know-how that explains most of the cost of the raw material: leather.
*imputed-what? Rot-proof means "that cannot rot".
We have been producing our leather for more than 30 years in a historic tannery in Graulhet, known for working with the biggest luxury brands. It is one of the most beautiful French tanneries, labeled Living Heritage Company ( like us! ) for its great know-how.
Our joint work allows us to offer you exceptional leathers, of constant quality, with a unique touch, and in colors that are always very worked.
By tanning in France, with a trusted partner, we ensure that:
all employees work in good conditions, with good equipment, and use products validated by Europe and France;
no product ends up in the Dadou* or groundwater. The water is entirely treated by the tannery before being sent back to a treatment plant for a final filtering;
REACH standards are scrupulously respected: each product used is meticulously weighed, checked and validated.
Checks are regular and very strict. When you buy an Ateliers Fourès leather piece, you are buying values and a commitment to reasoned and responsible production.
* River Graulhet along which are all the historic tanneries
Mineral tanning or vegetable tanning, which to choose?
Let's come back to our sheep, finally… to our bull skins.
To transform them from skins to leathers, there are two main types of tanning:
- Mineral tanning based on chromium salts
- Vegetable tanning based on natural tannins (such as bark for example)
Mineral tanning is the most widespread tanning in the world (85% of leathers). It is preferred by brands for its flexibility, its elasticity, its infinite range of colors and its resistance over time.
Mineral tanning can be problematic in terms of pollution when using a tannery that does not comply with European standards:
- Poor quality chrome
- Poor tanning processes
- Wastewater discharged into nature without being reprocessed
On the other hand, as we mentioned earlier, leathers tanned in Europe are subject to very strict rules and frequent checks . This is even more true in France where the standards are even tougher than in the rest of Europe.
Buying an Ateliers Fourès product means being sure that the leather it is made of is of high quality and that it has been worked according to the rules of the art.
The French tannery that works our leather is in the process of being labeled by LWG (This is the reference organization in the field of tanning. Gold Rated is the most demanding level of certification. This certification guarantees the best level of waste water recycling and energy consumption, control of the products used and traceability of the leather produced.It carries out frequent tests on the skins before and after work, systematically checks the waste water at the end of the process, and retreats this water before sending it to a treatment plant.
Vegetable tanning does not use chemicals to transform the skin into leather, but vegetable tannins.
Be careful however, vegetable tanned leather can then be badly worked with foods and chemical pigments prohibited in France and harmful to health and the planet. Wastewater may also not be reprocessed at the tannery outlet. Thus, a vegetable tanned leather does not guarantee the good practices of the tannery that produces it .
The leather obtained is firmer than with mineral tanning, which limits its use to rather rigid products. It is also not possible to obtain all the colors desired and these are more likely to deteriorate with time and light.
Leather tanning Ateliers Fourès
For our part, we have chosen mineral tanning made in France , for the flexibility and durability it offers to our products.
We promise you products that will accompany you for a long time. Our tests with vegetable tanned leather are not conclusive and do not allow us to keep this promise. We are constantly looking for greener solutions that are not at the expense of quality.
By working with a labeled tannery and close to our Workshop, we ensure the quality of the leathers while limiting the additional cost of tanning in France, by eliminating intermediaries.
What to take away from all this information?
An Ateliers Fourès product is:
Mineral tanning for unparalleled suppleness and roundness
Tanning done in France, locally, without intermediaries
By an EPV-certified tannery, with a very high level of quality and high standards
Perfect control of the tanning process, without any risk to health
Transparency, do not hesitate to contact us if we haven't answered all your questions 😊