The following list compiles leather brands and services available in Singapore which will provide insights into what the leather industry entails. My list spans diy leather craft to professional craft services to upholstery to local fashion apparels to upcycled leather waste etc.
First off, what is real leather?
The following are examples of FAKE leather. You can see the peeling and cracking which are clear signs of plastic, PU or PVC.
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There are many ways to understand real leather, or full grain leather (the technical term). Leather is essentially animal skin. Can you imagine cow skin peeling or cracking as in the photos above? It has to have been terribly sun burnt! Also, we humans are in serious trouble if human skin deteriorates this easily.
How about premium leather bags that cost in excess of $20,000? If real leather easily peels and cracks, there can be no justification for these price tags. $300.00 perhaps. Maybe $500.00. But definitely not $20,000 and above. The fact of the matter is that such bags exist and there are bases for these prices.
Maybe you don’t know fashion. How about military boots? We can’t really imagine our soldiers running around in peeling boots can we? Especially after mental imagery of them polishing boots till they can see their teeth.
Truth is, most of us have ever come across real leather products, and at reasonable prices too. It is just that we have never really made that mental connection. If there are no problems, we will not stop for a second thought I guess. Well yeah, if something does last, you might like to appreciate it a little bit more.
Last but not least, just because a product bears the name of a world renowned brand, it does not necessarily imply “real leather”, nor “genuine leather”, nor the actual technical name “full grain leather”.
There is no better way to explain real leather than to explain it in conjunction with beloved brands that unfortunately offer much less than their promises. Let us take a look again:
In short, there are a lot, and I mean really a lot of people who think that because something is branded, it must be real leather. It is not.
Since I opened with a series of photos of belts, I will return to an essential belting service for all white collar executives again in the 4th service on Aquila belts below.
1. BROADWAY LEATHER COMPANY
1.1 Custom brass makers’ marks
Did you know that you can even customise a brass stamp bearing your business brand or even a personal logo?
The leather industry is increasingly becoming more exciting with ever more people making their own wallets and bags etc. right in their homes. Top it off with your personal brand! Heck you can even buy it for a good friend or your loved one whom you know is into the whole leathery stuff!
Do check out Broadway Leather Co.. Go straight to their leather workshop and factory right here in Singapore.
1.2 Leather scraps by weight, partial leather panels and wholesale leather
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Thinking of making your own watch straps? Check out below what 1 kilogram of leather can get you! 4-6 pairs of watch straps no problems with some more leather all rolled up outside the frame!
How about full sheets for your most ambitious project like a duffel bag?
But it is quite a hassle.
Don’t want to start entirely from scratch but would still like to have some fun and satisfaction by hand making your personal leather accessory? Fast forward to my 2nd recommendation below after my introduction of Broadway Leather Co..
Hint: kits with the leather shapes all cut out and with pre-punched holes. All you gotta do is sew!
For now, back to Broadway Leather Co..
1.3 Custom steel rule cutting die punches
For the super duper serious leather crafter to whom “hand made” is no longer acceptable. You need precision, you need complex templates and you need sophistication. You are perhaps a shoe maker?
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Broadway Leather custom bends steel-rule knives into cutting dies for customers, the most complex of which are shoe upper and shoe sole patterns, as well as bag templates etc.
1.4 Leather splitting service
Broadway Leather Company also provides leather splitting services to carpenters and upholsterers, as well as diy hobbyists and professional leather craftsmen.
Components of a wallet split thinner for a customer.
Leather split extremely thin for wrapping buttons of a chesterfield sofa for a sofa contractor.
2. Hocks-Alcis handmade
2.1 Diy craft kits with pre punched holes
Hocks-Alcis sells a range of diy kits in which the leather components of wallets et al. and their corresponding stitching holes are pre punched. In addition, needles, thread and instructions are provided.
The one and only thing you got to do is hand stitch.
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Finished products are often expensive due to expensive labour costs involved. However, partially finished items like these, stopped short of the hand stitching, brings the retail price down drastically.
It makes for excellent personal and corporate gifts that can come with brands embossed on them or personalisation to a giftee’s name.
One doesn’t need to travel down to a leather workshop either, for courses which frankly, teaches you basic skills that we have all more or less learnt in arts and craft or home economics lessons in school and at home at some point in our lives.
2.2 Commissioned hand made products
Looking for a personalised gift to a loved one or to yourself? Hocks-Alcis also accepts projects such as customised wallets, lanywards and even bags.
3.1 Vintage style hand bound journal books
Castobel has a fine collection of stationery in full grain leather and among them, my favourite is their crazyhorse leather journals. Note: crazyhorse is the industry name for this style of leather. It is still cow hide, not horse hide!
Some photo journaling of my baby girl! The black and white instant photos look especially good in my journal books!
Furthermore, I love its rugged nature as I need not worry about damaging it as I flip through it repeatedly, unlike the worry with professionally printed photo albums.
3.2 Ring binder agenda planners
3.3 Desk accessories & laptop sleeves
4. AQUILA full grain leather apparels
4.1 Aquila full grain leather belts
No frills, no fluff is their philosophy.
As mentioned above, this is a must for all white collar executives. Simply good ole full grain leather belts at less than one-third the price of branded belts which may not even be made of real leather!
And do check out their belt strap replacement service.
Admit it. Some of you folks out there wear the priciest and the most branded belts because your colleagues pooled money to get you one on your birthday.
Perhaps, your spouse bought it for you only to have you give them a dressing down because of its price.
Then comes the time to replace the belt because of the fake leather nature of the original belt, as evidenced by the photos above, yet you can’t bear to part with your money to buy an original branded strap, which is likely to be the same fake leather, if the boutique even offers that service in the first place.
It is understandable and thank goodness you stopped right there.
I recommend AQUILA for all belt strap replacement requirements. They are the true belt professionals. One can even call them belt tailors if you will.
Did I mention that local tailors in Singapore carry full grain leather belts made by them?
4.2 Aquila hand made full leather shoes
Aquila shoes aren’t the cheapest in town, neither are they the most expensive. However, if a gentleman is looking for a comfortable work horse pair of leather business shoes, ie durable and easy to maintain with a brush and kiwi, do look Aquila up.
As per their business philosophy, Aquila shoes are made entirely out of full grain leather. No frills and no fluff, and at a decent price.
5. Punching bag leather stuffing
Broadway Leather Company upcycles every last fibre of leather in her factory by shredding them into small chips for filling punching bags.
Punching bags cannot be filled entirely with sand or sawdust due to the load. Therefore, customers first use the lighter but firm leather fillings to form the backbone of the punching bag before filling the remaining empty spaces with finer material.
6. Upholstery and renovation sub contractor services
6.1 Leather cabinet and drawer pulls for interior designers
Add a touch of timeless class to your wardrobe and drawers.
6.2 Leather wholesale for upholstery and wall panels
6.3 Furniture upholstery services