Ostrich leather is a beautiful soft textile that is completely versatile – top designers use it to make handbags, clothing and shoes, while the automotive industry often makes use of ostrich leather for upholstery.
Some of the top names in fashion design – think Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Mulberry and Prada – use ostrich leather to make their handbags. Ostrich leather exudes luxury, class and style. But perhaps one of it’s defining features is its durability. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a soft leather.
Leather, particularly ostrich, is no longer synonymous with older people. “I want to show the world how truly special and beautiful exotic leathers are,” Saudi Arabian accessories designer Hanan Aljabr Aljabr, told Vogue Arabia. “There has long been a misconceived notion that exotic leathers and furs are reserved for older women, which I simply disagree with.”
Her love affair with handbags dates back to when she was 11 years old. She went on a trip to the Fendi boutique in Venice with her mom. “As I was too young to own my own, I convinced my mother to purchase a gorgeous bag, with plans to claim it as mine one day. Since then, I’ve been hooked.”
Ostrich leather: what you need to know
According to The Handbag Spa, ostrich leather originates from the 1850s in South Africa when it was discovered as a byproduct from ostriches farmed for feathers and meat.
A key characteristic of ostrich leather is it’s raised points in the hide that create small bumps. There are many cheap imitations of ostrich leather on the market. Manufacturers are able to replicate the bumpy texture by embossing indentations into the leather using a heavy rolling plate during the tanning process. You can spot imitation ostrich leather because the bumps are uniform and spaced equally.
Ostrich leather is an expensive textile because only about one third of the entire skin has quill bumps, which is the look you want when buying an ostrich handbag.
Benefits of ostrich leather
Not only is ostrich leather soft, beautiful and unique, it’s also incredibly durable. The Handbag Spa says, “It’s known for being for tough, pliable, durable and yet supple. Ostrich leather contains natural oils, which means it resists cracking and stiffness.”
According to the Safari Ostrich Farm, located outside Oudtshoorn, elephant leather is the strongest in the world. They say that “elephant hide/skin is very thick and therefore not user-friendly and also since it is not a farmed animal unlike ostrich there is correctly ethical issues with regards elephant hide. “ Therefore, they say ostrich leather, for practical purposes, is the second strongest leather in the world after crocodile.
Hanspeter Winklmayr, the man behind Via La Moda, agrees. He told Candice-Lee Kannemeyer of In My Bag, “Ostrich skin is special in that a full skin is used without being treated or corrected to change its nature. It is one of the supplest leathers, despite being among the toughest.”
Ostrich leather at Modern & Tribal
We source only the finest ostrich leather that we use to make belts, handbags, back packs, travel bags and laptop bags. Plus, you can choose from 11 beautiful colours:
Black | Brown | Buttercup | Tangerine | Pink | Red | Purple | Navy | Sky blue | Forest green | Lime green
Our favourite ostrich leather handbags include:
Elegant ostrich leather handbag with two beautiful buckle handles. Available in full ostrich or leather.
Simple yet elegant leather sling bag with tassels. Available in full genuine leather, ostrich, nguni, springbok or zebra.
Medium-sized leather handbag with an elegant rounded top. Available in full leather, ostrich, nguni, springbok or zebra.
A sturdy yet stylish leather clutch bag that has a removeable sling chain. Available in full ostrich or leather.
Interesting facts about ostriches
Now you know why you need to buy an ostrich leather handbag, we’ll leave you with a few fun facts about ostriches:
- An ostrich has three stomachs.
- Ostriches can reach running speeds of more than 70km/h, covering up to 5m in a single stride.
- The wing span of an ostrich is about 2m.
- Ostrich eggs measure 15cm long and weigh as much as two dozen chicken eggs.