Eco-friendly maternity shoes - Part II
To understand better the thoughts behind the Rhabarberleder, how it is different from other types of leather and how it is processed, we have talked to the founder of deepmello, Anne-Christin Bansleben.
Mrs. Bansleben, would you please introduce yourself?
I am a nutrition scientist originally, specialized in plant analytics and biochemistry. After my graduation I was involved in different university research projects with a focus on ingredients analytics and how this can help to develop new products. During that time I came across the idea of Rhabarberleder.
Please explain us in more detail what is Rhubarb Leather.
This is a vegetable tanned leather. Instead of heavy metals (chromium salts) we tan our leather with a vegetable extract based on the rhubarb plant. We have to differentiate between two things here: there is the process of tanning, which means making the leather durable, and the process of dying, which means to give color to the leather. When we use the vegetable extract the leather gets a color tone which we call “champagne”. We can get other color tones in a next step using ecological dyes.
Which qualities has this leather? How is it different from conventionally dyed leathers? How does it behave in form of fashion products, e.g. shoes? How sensitive is this kind of leather? What should we consider when we use it?
Basically, our leathers are of high quality, having a special feel and a very soft smell. They are different especially because, being dyed ecologically, they are not covered with synthetic materials, which makes the leather to remain breathable. This is a very important characteristic for shoes, in particular.
Moreover, during the processes of both tanning and dying no heavy metals are used. Through the chemical transformation into chromium VI these can produce allergies by wearing the respective leather products, in our case the shoes.
In order to remove stains from the leather, you can just use a cosmetic tissue. Rhubarb leather can be refreshed with neutral colored vegetable oils which can be poured on a sponge with which the leather can be dabbed.
Does Rhubarb Leather contain any chemical substances and if yes, how do they influence our health?
Our leather does not contain any chemical compounds which can put the health at risk.
How did you get the idea to tan leather with rhubarb extracts?
The idea is based on our research work. Our goal was to develop new innovative products or alternatives to common damaging products. Based on complex analyses of the ingredients of the rhubarb plant, we have discovered that its root contains chemical compounds which are optimal to tan leather with. And so the idea was born!
Is this tanning method new or was it known earlier?
No, we as deepmello have discovered that leather can be tanned with rhubarb. This is a completely new tanning process.
Where do you source the Rhubarb Leather from?
The leather is produced in Germany 100%, from the plant to the ready leather.
Thank you very much for your time and the interview, Mrs. Bansleben!