ACCESSORI HANDMADE IN ITALY

BAGS: ORIGINS AND PROCESSES

By Jajo

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THE FASCINATING STORY OF LEATHER

Over the years we have seen an increasing use of leather in the clothing and accessory sectors, until too become a real must of fashion. The use of this material has its roots in prehistory, when primitive men after catching their prey to feed themselves, they used the skins to create rudimentary outfits, or sacks for storing utensils. Firstly we had simple robes wrapped around the body and held together by laces, and then we passed to the cutting and assembly of different types of hides by creating clothes that were less bulky and more protective from the cold.

Awls of bone and flint were the first tools used for these creations, but only with the arrival of rudimentary needles was possible to create more practical and less uncomfortable garments, thanks to flexible and smaller seams than those created from simple knotted ties

LEATHER TREATMENT

The problem of how to cover ourselves seemed to be solved, but these primitive clothing would not lasted for a long period of time, due to the lack of any treatment that would stop the decomposition of the leather. Man tried to overcome this problem before with the drying method, and later with the use of fat that made softer dried leather. With the passing of time more sophisticated techniques were taken, until obtaining a first tanning which consisted of immersing the item in a herbal solution.

Today tanning can be summarised into five major phases:

1) preservation: raw hide is treated with salt to preserve it from the action of bacteria and after is dried to remove the excess water;

2) Riviera: the name of this phase, which remained unchanged in time, is due to the fact that in the past this pre-tanning treatment took place on the banks of the river;

3) tanning: It consists in impregnating the hide of chemical or plant substances to prevent the decomposition;

4) post-tanning: It consists in pressing and smoothing the hide that, along with other treatments, make the leather easy to use also improving the aesthetics;

5) finishing: this phase gives the hide, through mechanical or chemical processes, brightness and colour that you want.

 

THE BAG: BIRTH OF AN ACCESSORY

The first bags were used by men and were simple leathers rolled up in which to store weapons and tools. With the advent of money, bags spread out more, up to the Middle Ages in which appeared the first models of shoulder bag (crumena) and handbag (manticula).

Later there was a dark period for this accessory, caused by the advent of voluminous clothes consisting of many layers and pockets for storing everything you need.

Only in the early twentieth century, by the time the woman was acting independently, the bag became an accessory symbol of women’s emancipation.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE CRAFTSMANSHIP AND INDUSTRIAL BAG

Most of the time those who buy a bag does not ask to which process the leather has been subjected in order to have the finished product, unless the customer wants a particular accessory or is not a lover of “handmade“. Despite the ancient tradition of Italian leather goods, many companies have preferred technology to craftsmanship by introducing machinery that ensure them constant production, to guarantee customers a product almost always perfect. This is referred to work in series when it is determining the contribution of the machines and minimal human intervention.

Other companies have instead chosen to continue working the product in an almost traditional manner. In these cases the work of employees, whose jobs may vary in function of the production result to be achieved, prevails on the use of machinery. The production process may vary depending on the orders or the type used, and equipment may be used in a different manner. The human resource is therefore the centre of the production system.

 

THE HANDMADE  JAJO BAGS

A bag designed by JAJO is the result of a creative and manual process which involves various professionals. After the designers have chosen the mood of the collection on the basis of both the current trends and their personal inspirations, they design what will be the models for the next season. They deliver sketches to the model maker, key figure in the planning stage, which translates them into a paper model. The pattern obtained passes to the hand cutter, which operates resorting to the use of die cutters. It is a particularly delicate work as it is the task of the cutter recognising any defects that the leather presents.

After the cutting there is the preparation and assembly phase of the bag, carried out by the “banconista” flanked by expert in hide stitching. The bags are now finished, but prior to dispatch are checked in every detail and if among them there is some small difference that means that it is craftsmanship product.

For this season JAJO proposes in addition to Ullabag, a shopping bag now the brand’s icon, shoulder bags or satchel bags that turn into comfortable backpacks.

If you want to know JAJO new models, click here.

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