Worldwide Shipping

What is Vintage Leather and What Do I Need to Know About it?

Leather is a very popular and durable material that everyone has probably heard about. But what is vintage leather? You may have heard that term once or twice, but you cannot really say what it means or the difference between normal leather and vintage leather.

People who go for vintage leather usually prefer a classy look to a normal one. Vintage leather has specific imperfections, which is one reason why many choose it over normal leather.

You can always decipher between vintage and normal leather, as there are some signs to show. Some signs include wrinkles or scratches – anything that makes it look worn out or old. Keep reading this article to learn more about vintage leather.


Vintage Leather Criterion

  • Character: vintage leather can be classified as high-quality leather because it does not wear out as it ages. Instead, when true vintage leather ages, it becomes more beautiful than it looked before.

Vintage leather develops a patina and a one-of-a-kind character, giving it a distressed look. In other words, it looks like it has been used for years but still looks beautiful.

  • Age: another leather criterion is age – vintage leather is usually leather items as old as 20 to 100 years. Vintage leather goes back as far as the early 1930s – that was manufactured before the 1980s.

Since the leather is old, it has beautiful and specific imperfections, which gives it a unique look that cannot be replicated. Vintage leather bags, shoes, wallets, and every other accessory have these scratches and rough feature that makes them look old but beautiful.

Vintage leathers have an eccentric design, which is why they are mostly used to make furniture like chairs. Although, vintage leather is not as comfortable or soft as new leather.


Characteristics and Definition of Vintage Leather

definition of vintage leather

The essence of this article is to define vintage leather and give you all the information you need to know about it. So, what is retro leather? Vintage leather can be simply defined as old leather.

It is high-quality old leather, like top-grain or full-grain leather. Vintage leather products pre-date the 1930s, and the best way to identify authentic vintage leather is by their unique features. They usually have imperfections like wrinkles and scratches, which is as a result of constant wear and tear.

Some sources refer to vintage leather as the ones made before the 1980s while others refer to it as leather that is 20 to 100 years old. Vintage leather is of high quality because it develops a beautiful patina as it ages.

Products like shoes, bags, and jackets made from vintage leather are popular fashion trends, especially among celebrities. Note that distressed and vintage leather are two different types of leather but are usually used interchangeably.

Vintage leather occurs naturally, but people use aniline dyes to create a worn-out artificial look. People choose to distress their leather when they want that worn-out look but cannot wait long.

Two major characteristics of vintage leather include age and character. Vintage leather is usually old (from about twenty years down) and has some peculiar features. Other characteristics include the appearance of wrinkles, healed scars, and scratches.


Age of Vintage Leather

Age of Vintage Leather

As stated above, vintage leather refers to 20 to 100 years old items. Also, it refers to leather items made before the 1980s but is not older than 100 years old.

The difference between vintage and antique leather is that the former is less than 100 years while the latter is older than 100 years.  


Turning Leather to Vintage Leather

A vintage look is something almost everyone wants to try out, especially on their leather items. Luckily, there are a few ways to achieve this. If you are the patient type, you can let the leather age naturally. If you cannot wait, you can use chemicals to achieve an artificial vintage look.


Develop the Patina

Leather is a durable item that will last a lifetime only if you take care of it and maintain it properly. Choosing to develop the patina is a natural process. It means that you have to wait for the leather to age naturally; of course, it requires a lot of patience.

When you take care of your leather, it will last for as long as you need it to, and as it ages, it will develop that beautiful patina. Cleaning your leather is necessary if you want to develop a beautiful patina. You must also condition your leather continuously to maintain its durability and strength.

Only items made from high-grade or high-quality leather will develop a patina as it ages to give that vintage look. You can find high-quality leather items like bags, wallets, and journals on the olpr. website.


Distress Your Leather

You can achieve an artificial vintage look by dyeing your leather item with aniline dye. This process is faster, and you will achieve that aged appearance in no time. You can always do it yourself if you do not have the time and patience to wait for your leather item to age naturally.

Once you are done with this process, you will get the characteristics of naturally aged leather, including all the imperfections. You can use any grade of leather when dying your leather into distressed leather.


Leather Patina

What is a leather patina? The patina of leather is its look which gets altered in a good way due to aging. When it comes to high-quality leather items, aging is a good thing because your leather item will become more beautiful due to the patina it develops.

The patina of leather is what has made it beautiful over the years. You can point out the patina when you see an old leather item. To classify leather as patina, it does not have to be up to a hundred years or more than antique leather. It just needs to have that old and worn-out look.



Patination refers to altering modern leather to look like vintage leather. This term describes the aging of the leather – the patina develops on the surface of the leather. A darker hue that is semi-transparent is added to the leather material – this is called rubbed-off leather.


Leather in Vintage Style: Distressed Leather

Distressed Leather

Distressed leather is normal leather that is dyed to look like old leather. It is called distressed leather because it is new leather that you alter to look old. Most people opt for distressing their leather when they cannot wait for it to age naturally.

Distressing leather involves dying your new item with aniline dye to achieve that aged and worn-out appearance. When you dye your leather, you will get the peculiar characteristics and features of any naturally old leather, such as scratches and wrinkles.

When it comes to aging leather artificially (distressing leather), you can use any grade of leather as you will achieve the same results.

Vintage Leather vs. New Leather

As explained above, Vintage leather refers to leather items between 20 to 100 years old. As the leather ages, it produces a beautiful patina which gives it a unique and classy look.

The label lets you tell whether a leather item is vintage or modern. New leather refers to items not up to 20 years old. These items are void of vintage leather items' imperfections and unique features.

Vintage Leather

New Leather

Vintage leather items have unique imperfections like scratches, wrinkles, cotton linings, and healed scars, adding to their beauty.

Since new leather items have not gone through the natural or artificial aging process, they do not have the unique imperfections vintage leather has.

Vintage leathers are not easy to replicate, which makes them a preferred option. You can always spot the difference between faux and authentic vintage leather.

New leather can easily be replicated – it is difficult to know the difference between real and faux leather.

Vintage leather is expensive because its features are not easily replicable.

New leather is less expensive than vintage leather.

How to Clean and Care for Vintage Leather

Leather should be considered as skin and therefore be taken care of regularly. The only way to make your vintage leather item last longer is to maintain it to prevent it from deteriorating. You can take your leather item to a professional or clean it at home.

Taking it to a professional means it is exceptionally delicate, and you cannot handle cleaning it yourself. Below are some things you should do when conditioning your leather.

  • Use a soft cloth to apply conditioner to your vintage leather.
  • Ensure you put the conditioner on a soft cloth before putting it on the leather.
  • Apply the conditioner evenly and subtly until the entire surface is covered.
  • Apply light coats of conditioner to your vintage leather item.
  • Store your vintage leather item in a place that is not too humid or dry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is vintage leather real leather?

Yes, vintage leather is leather that has aged.

What does vintage leather look like? 

The surface of vintage leather items always exhibits traces and signs of aging. Vintage leather usually has unique imperfections like wrinkles and scratches.

What is distressed vintage leather?

Distressed leather is artificially aging leather. This is achieved by dyeing the leather item with aniline dye to achieve an artificially aged appearance.

Which leather age is the best?

Vintage leather – leather items of about 20 to 100 years old – is a fantastic option, especially for people who want a classy look.

Can leather last 100 years?

Yes, leather can last a lifetime if maintained properly.

What is vintage leather?

Vintage leather is old leather, about 20 to 100 years old.



Vintage leather is the best choice for a classic leather item. You can let your leather item age naturally or distress your leather to achieve a worn-out artificial appearance. Check out the olpr. website for high-quality leather items that will develop a patina as they age.

1 comment

  • I have a leather jacket with removeabel liner and a wallet that came with it it’s petty heavy like bicker style you think it might be worth anything

    Jimmy Stewart

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

1 comment

  • I have a leather jacket with removeabel liner and a wallet that came with it it’s petty heavy like bicker style you think it might be worth anything

    Jimmy Stewart