Seamlessly interweaving form and function is at the core of everything This Is Ground does. When we go deep on function, we also obsess about each material and component we select. This obsession with detail extends to the full lifecycle of our products: beginning with the Italian families and ancient processes that craft our vacchetta leather. This is the story of how the gorgeous Italian leather found in our Connoisseur Collection comes into being, and a little insight into our thought process as designers.
In the heart of Tuscany, midway between the Florentine hills and the Tyrrhenian coast, you’ll find one of the major heritage sites of Italy: the Leather District. There, along the left side of the river Arno, is a tannery that produces genuine Italian vegetable-tanned leather according to the traditional Tuscan method. Our tannery specializes in vacchetta, the most sought after leather on the planet, made from bovine shoulders and bull fronts. In its raw form, Italian vacchetta has a rich, soft, honey-butter color and texture. As vacchetta ages, it develops a unique patina based on its wear and use. It is a material that becomes personalized with time and is famous for the passion it evokes from its users.
Our tannery’s practice is the result of painstaking hours spent mastering ancient Tuscan traditions and joining them with modern technology to produce a luxurious and eco-friendly leather. The process of vegetable tanning involves pools of precisely measured natural tanning extracts. Here the skins soak for weeks in extracts like quebracho, mimosa andchestnut, as well as various animal fat oils. These extracts are absorbed gradually by natural fibers, lending each skin its own life. Finally, the leather is hand-finished with a combination of innovative techniques and craftsmanship. The end result is a natural product of optimal quality that is as modern as it is traditional, as durable as it is beautiful.
Our tannery’s leathers include the famed tags “Pelle Conciata al Vegetale in Toscana” -- Vegetable Tanned Leather of Tuscany -- as well as registration with the Consorzio Vera Pelle Italiana Conciata al Vegetale -- Genuine Italian Vegetable tanned Leather Consortium. These globally recognized certifications ensure that every This Is Ground product is produced with world-class leather.
We develop our leather colors through a collaborative process involving our designers, Italian tanners and feedback from our creative community. We see the life of our products as a kind of choreography, and this material R & D process takes several primary use cases into account. There’s a start to the experience where the product is in its raw state that will comfortably adapt to the gear that our customers carry. Next we consider environment and light. Where we place specific spots for phones versus cords has everything to do with behavior and frequency of use. We also consider predicted environments. Over time our products will expand and tighten based on what you carry - the vacchetta leather will hold to those forms. Color is considered at all stages. Your unique vacchetta patina will develop based on a number of factors, including light, heat, the natural oils in your hands and the colors of fabric the leather comes into contact with. There’s never a stage that presents the material in an unflattering way -- it’s an extension and expression of your real life.