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Technology - Ecco makes “revolutionary” translucent leather
21 April 2017

The leather manufacturing business unit of footwear brand Ecco has claimed an industry first on introducing a new range called Apparition. Ecco Leather said at the time of the announcement that Apparition is “the first soft, transparent bovine leather” to come to market with qualities that include lasting pliability and resistance to water.

It said the quest for transparent leather has “long eluded” tanners and designers. Transparency was previously possible in leather from small skins but even when designers used this raw material to achieve a see-through effect, the material became hard and had poor resistance to water.

A small team at Ecco Leather has now completed a three-year project to find a solution this, for which it looked at a range of sources, including tanning techniques employed in ancient Egypt and ancient Greece. The breakthrough came when the team combined these ancient methods with modern industrial applications, Ecco Leather said. The transparent leather is available in a range of colours and can be used for apparel as well as for footwear. Ecco Leather has referred to it as a “revolutionary new material”.

In comments at the time of the announcement, Iceland-based designer, Sruli Recht, who led the Apparition project, said: “The technique of keeping the leather soft is obviously a trade secret. It came out of the challenge of rethinking leather aesthetics in terms of both visual and touch properties.”

Mr Recht said that the Holy Grail for designers using leather would be “a futuristic material that still maintains the properties that we know, love, and require from leather” and he suggested that a translucent leather that maintains leather’s traditional properties.

Apparition leather is available in two thicknesses: 0.5 to 0.7 millimetres and 0.8 to 1.0 millimetres.

Information courtesy of Leatherbiz