“It’s not just a bag, it’s an investment” — a saying we hear multiple times and even recite out loud when we need a reason to purchase a luxury bag. Each may be priced from thousands or even millions, making it worthy enough to be called an investment. Some including the Yeoh sisters, Rachel and Michelle as well as social media sweetheart Heart Evangelista claim that the Hermès Birkin is a better investment than gold. Each is painstakingly made by hand with ultimate craftsmanship and sometimes weeks to just finish — making these luxury bags deserving to be treated with the utmost care.
It is not just about the price that you pay for each bag; these beauties are meant to last. And it involves more than just simple steps of just wiping it down with a wet cloth or keeping them dust-free. Firstly, figure out the type of material or leather that your bag is made from, then get the proper cleaning tools (it’s not just a damp cloth), and lastly doing it regularly.
Define your material
It is important to know the leather types: cowhide, lambskin, patch, or faux, and then deciphering the tanning process used. Vegetable-tanned ones are commonly used to create bags, and it’s chromium-free, unlike chrome-tanning which has a strong chemical smell that is harmful to health and the environment. The huge con is that they discolour quickly and will shrink when drenched in water.
The full-grain leather, which is a premium-grade hide showcases the leather’s natural texture. As for top-grain leather, it’s slightly thinner than full-grain, because it is buffed and some grains are restamped on top to give it a more uniform look (it’s often mistaken as full-grain leather). Also, not forgetting the exotic materials category which is self-explanatory. This is also what rare Birkins are made of, hence the exorbitant price tag.
Clean and store them right
It’s pretty logical to wipe any dirt that may fall onto your bag immediately, but don’t just stop there. Liquids, especially grease and oils are capable of being absorbed into the leather. Wipe it down with a specially-made leather cleaner. You can get it easily in a hardware store, or some brands even have their own in-house leather care range. Always make sure your hands are as clean as it can be when it comes to handling these luxury bags — no hand cream or lotion, if possible. Remember to also give your bag a clean sweep with a dry cloth as often as you can, even if you’re not using it on that day itself.
Once you’re done, the best way to store your bag is to put it bag in the original dustbag — yes these are not just for show, they are actually useful to keep any dirt and dust away. Tuck them away in a cabinet, but air once every two weeks to prevent moulds from growing. Otherwise, simply rotate your bags once every few weeks to avoid moulding. However, it is also important to note that excessive use of one bag will wear it out quickly. When not in use, stuff your bag to help keep its shape.
After all the effort in cleaning and storing your bags, remember to preserve your hard work. Leather may not be entirely waterproof but spraying with a leather protectant spray will make sure it stays protected — but that doesn’t give you a green light to go running under the rain with your Chanel Boy or other luxury bags for that matter.