Hare+Hart Teaches You to Care for Your Leather
Oil and leather, best friends forever.
Like wine and Justin Timberlake, good leather only gets better with age. If you take care of it, that is. “When I turned 26, I complained to my boss at the time about getting old, and she said, ‘Whatever, I have leather coats older than you,” says Jennie Engelhardt, one half of the team behind Hare+Hart. “And it’s true: People save their leather.” She and her cohort Emily Harrison, who source skins and produce their bag-and-jacket line in Argentina, know the tricks to making the material last, and Jennie is down to share them.
Get Down With Oil
“Number one: oil and condition. Leather really is a skin, and just like yours—out in the wind and the rain and the sun and the weather—it gets dried out. Oiling it regularly makes a huge difference. It keeps it supple. Do it at the beginning of the season. It’ll help prevent water damage. It’s really easy: Put a little oil on a cloth or old T-shirt—we like Obenauf’s—and rub it in. Wipe away any excess. They say do it in circles, but I don’t follow that. Use it on scratches. Use it in the lines and creases where you bend a lot, like at your elbows. Wear it out, oil it, wear it out, oil it. The more you wear it, the softer it gets, like your best pair of jeans.”
Pay (Some) Attention to Color
”I wear black leather in all conditions—if you have a black bag, you can do whatever. You can add black polish to it to cover up any stains, the way you do with shoes. You might want to be a little more careful with lighter leather, but even if your light leather gets wet, just put some oil over the water spots. I have a camel bag I wear all the time—in rain and snow—and I just oil it and let it get beat up. I get so many compliments on it. It looks way better than when it was new.”
Know What You Can’t Fix
“Remember that leather is skin and is porous, so things will absorb. There are some good cleaners for grime, but if I spill something like nail polish remover on my bag, that’s never coming out, no matter what I do. So avoid certain things. Like wine.”