With 15 years of experience and happy Knomo customers all over the world, we take huge pride in designing some of the best bags, cases and accessories on the market.
We believe that the more care we put into designing our bags, the better they will work for the amazing people who carry them. One of the first decisions our design team make is which materials to use.
Leather comes in many forms, some high quality – many to a lower standard. We are fortunate to only work with full-grain leather when making our bags, and choose to hold this standard to accompany you on thousands of journeys.
Why is full-grain leather superior?
Firstly, it is important to highlight the difference between full-grain leather, top-grain leather and genuine leather.
Full-grain leather hides have not been tampered with – no correction or buffing – and therefore have a rich, natural aesthetic. The beauty of full-grain leather is that the fibres of the hide are naturally woven together (think of the protection a cow needs in the wild), so that rather than looking worn out over time, the leather develops a unique character that is personal to every piece of leather and every customer who owns the product.
Meanwhile, other types of leather are corrected to become uniform during production. Top-grain and genuine leather hides are buffed, and a print is applied or finishing coat added to create an even look, however, this often results in a plastic-y feeling and a short lifespan.
We want people to invest in our bags and use them for years to come (and tell all their friends and colleagues, too). We think the best strategy to achieve this is a commitment to using the best leathers, fabrics, metals and other materials we can.
This way, there are more Knomo bags being carried down the street. More briefcases sitting on coffee shop floors and backpacks cooed over in meetings. Knowing this keeps us moving forward.
It’s also why our customer services team have license to make decisions without approval; we want our bags to be used for as long as possible. When someone gets in touch who is really attached to that product, their bag, with marks from all sorts of trips – it makes sense to fix the bag and put it back on the road for another round.
Different Knomo collections, different full-grain leathers
At Knomo we use three different types of full-grain leather to create our bags and laptop cases.
Our most popular choice is supple, full-grain napa leather that feels soft and luxurious to touch – used on our classic men’s (Brompton) and women’s (Mayfair) collections. Each piece of hide maintains it’s natural grain and character with a polished finish, which will wear over time and develop a rich, unique character.
In 2018 we launched our new eco-friendly leather collection (Barbican) of backpacks, briefcases, laptop sleeves and an overnight duffle. Our design team discovered a family-run facility in India that uses 100% recycled water during the tanning process, and only uses cow hides from the family tannery. Together we are part of the Leather Working Group which aims to make a positive impact on the future and sustainability of the leather production industry.
The final type of leather we use at Knomo is vegetable-tanned full-grain leather – currently on the touchpoints of the waxed canvas (Fulham) collection. The production of veg-tanned leather uses natural tannins from plants (such as bark, leaves and roots) to give the leather an organic, complex character. Veg-tanned leather often begins its life with a firmer feel but rewards its owner over years of use with an absolutely unique finish.
As with all Knomo bags, the leather we use is finished during production with a water and dirt-resistant spray to keep the bag looking perfect, and your belongings safe inside.
Maintaining your leather Knomo: bag care 101
Fortunately, maintaining leather products can be simple. Marks and scuffs can add to the natural beauty of the leather if cared for correctly.
Most dirt marks can be removed with warm soapy water. Mix a small amount of laundry detergent in a bowl with warm water, then use a clean cloth to wipe the areas that require attention.
For tougher dirt marks, you’ll need to use a leather care kit. We highly recommend these ones.
First spray the leather cleaner onto a clean cloth and test on a part of the bag that isn’t normally seen (like the base or the back of the bag). Then, wipe the area that needs sprucing up – apply as much pressure as necessary to remove the marks.
For deep scratches or worn edges, use a leather conditioning kit and a sponge to help restore the natural shine by adding moisture to the leather. This will also help keep the leather supple and allow the bag to comfortably receive more knocks and marks when you’re out and about.
Thanks so much for reading our guide to Knomo leather, we hope you’ve enjoyed finding out more about how and why we use full-grain leather to build our bags – and how to care and maintain your product for years to come.