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Genuine Leather - NOTTEVERA

HOW TO IDENTIFY REAL LEATHER

There’s definitely something sexy about leather. You don’t need to be a rocker or a biker to sport a cool leather jacket or some out-of-this-world accessories. But how do you make sure that what you’re buying is real leather in the first place?
 

Genuine Leather - NOTTEVERA

Here’s 10 things to look for when shopping for leather products. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be able to distinguish genuine leather from “pleather” - that cheap man-made synthetic fiber that seems to be everywhere these days.

1. Read the tag: This may seem obvious, but we’ll say it for the record. If a product states that it is made from ‘man made materials’ you can be sure it is not real leather. Similarly, if a product doesn't state its composition, chances are that it isn’t real leather either.

2. Visually inspect the surface grain: Look for scratches, wrinkles and creases. Imperfections in leather are actually a good thing. Remember, leather is made from animal skin, each piece is as random and unique as the animal it came from. In contrast, synthetic fibers often have regular and consistent colors and grains. (Keep in mind though synthetic manufacturers are getting better at mimicking the texture and look of real leather).

3. Smell the leather: Real leather has a natural, musty smell, whereas synthetic materials have a plastic-like or chemical odor. The difference is unmistakable.

4. Press or bend the leather with your fingers: Real leather will wrinkle under pressure, just like human skin. When bent, real leather may slightly discolor because it is elastic. Man-made materials on the other hand are more rigid and will often retain their shape and color.

5. Ignore color when comparing real vs fake leather: Colors and dyes can be added to both natural leathers and synthetics alike. Stick to feel, smell, and texture.

6. Wet the leather: Drop a small amount of water on the leather. Real leather absorbs moisture, while in a fake the water will just puddle on top.

7. Look at the edges: Real leather often has rough edges, while faux has even and perfect edges because it is machine-cut.

8. Do the fire test – but not on your favorite handbag or boot! If you happen to have pieces of leather and synthetic material that you don’t need, hold a flame for 5-10 seconds on each. Real leather will only char slightly smelling like burnt hair, while fake leather will catch flame and smell like burning plastic.

9. Know that quality real leather objects are rarely cheap: If a deal seems too good to be true, it likely is. Real leather is expensive, that’s because when properly maintained, it will last forever. This said, know also that there are different types of leather, and some are more expensive than others. Workmanship and origin also impact pricing considerably.

10. Above all, always purchase leather from reputable sellers to avoid buying products made with lower-grade materials or synthetics. At NOTTEVERA, we sell only products made with premium Italian leather and we fully stand behind each and every item we sell. Our customers buy from us because they appreciate the quality, creativity, exclusivity, and – above all – the integrity associated with a genuine Made in Italy NOTTEVERA product.


CUSTOMER PROFILE: SAMARA SAYKIN

Occasionally we have the privilege of getting to know our customers on a personal level, and Samara Saykin is one of those we were lucky enough to meet and learn about beyond her fashion interests. We sat down with Samara at The Smith in Nomad and chatted about her life interests, where she gets her inspiration from and the importance of helping those less fortunate.

Where do you live?

I live in New York, the greatest city in the world.

What do you do?

I am a Care Manager at the not-for-profit organization Housing Works (a healing community of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS whose mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts).

How have you been successful in combining your two passions of social work and fashion within your career?

I began my social work journey practicing clinical social work as a grad school intern at a psychiatric center and then I went on to practice psycho-therapy at a clinic. Lured by the opportunity and magic of New York, I moved here determined to use my skills to help the homeless and the chronically ill.

After a brief stint at Bloomingdale's, I was hired by Housing Works to help address the social and medical issues of New Yorkers in need living with HIV/AIDS.  Because of the culture of the organization and the location - in the heart of SoHo - Housing Works has been the catalyst fueling both my love for fashion and advocating for those within the organization’s community.

During my 2nd year working for the organization, I developed a strong desire to add relief and empowerment to the population through launching the clothing drive project Chic for Relief - a place where New Yorkers in need have the equal opportunity of directly hand-picking new designer clothing which is donated by fashion brands and retailers, including NOTTEVERA, which is one of our clothing donation partners.

By personally reaching out and networking with clothing retailers and distributors the project has been able to provide New Yorkers in need with quality brands. I was quite surprised how responsive and interested the retailers were in their efforts to contribute to the project. I believe Chic for Relief also provides the fashion retailers with the opportunity to help people in need while enhancing the respectability of their company. The project has been such success because of my natural compassion for people in combination with my love for fashion and networking. I truly believe fashion through its art form can contribute to lifting one's spirit and improving self-confidence. I consider myself fortunate to have found a place where I can pursue both of my passions.

How can I get involved in contributing to people in need? 
First, ask yourself what social problem in this world has deeply touched you or has caused you profound frustration. You can help in many ways. You can volunteer your time and effort directly to services that are needed, you can give in-kind donations to charity such as Chic for Relief, you can participate in advocacy for the cause, or you can make a financial donation to help sustain programs for those in need.

What chic icons have you adopted your sense of style from?
One of my fashion icons is human rights activist and former Studio 54 socialite Bianca Jagger for her iconic style.  Her quote “I don’t want to wear what every other woman wears” perfectly represents how my mother and aunts exhibit their fashion sense. From an early age, I became a fashionista, following my aunt, Marianna Heusler (Upper East Side resident and author of the mystery, No End to Trouble). I was always begging to wear her one-of-a-kind glamorous pieces that she either created herself or found in unusual shops. A portion of my wardrobe consists of many unique vintage pieces that have been passed down from my mother, aunt, or grandmother.  Another source of inspiration for me is Bessie Kalfa, an interior design innovator, who was part of the late 1970's cafe society and social scene. I've been very lucky to have had the opportunity to meet her and learn from her personal guidance.

What book are you reading now?
As busy as life is today, I still find time to indulge in reading a few chapters from a book called In The Seventies: Adventures in the Counter-CultureI find it quite fascinating how many correlations there are between that era and the issues that are going on today. I am also drawn to Murder at St. Polycarp - an interesting story about a murder at a Catholic school. Ever since I was a small girl, I've had vivid memories about my experiences as former Catholic school student and chapters within the book transport me back into that world.

Favorite restaurant?
My taste in restaurants varies greatly from a fresh catch brought directly from the Aegean Sea, to Milos Restaurant on west 55th street, to the fresh fruit wagon on East 72nd which offers succulent sweet mangoes. I'm very fortunate to be in a city that offers it all and well.

What are you wearing today?
Classic high-waisted, slim fitting, black denim jeans, paired with the Anna Tote and Diamante Boots, both from NOTTEVERA

What do you enjoy most about living in the greatest city in the world? 
First and foremost, there’s no other place I’d rather be. Living within the high energy of Manhattan has given me the opportunity to reinvent myself. The notion that I can just leave my building and explore endless options at any moment is a true luxury. I love people-watching, restaurants, learning about different causes and cultures, enjoying boutique hotel visits, conversing with random people and discovering what their passions are, indulging in Saturday trips to museums, and having the opportunity to be working within the heart of SoHo.  New York has truly given me the freedom to be who I really am.

KNOW YOUR LEATHER: LAMBSKIN VS. CALFSKIN

Leather is a living, natural and durable material. At NOTTEVERA, we use several types of high quality Italian leather, including lambskin and calfskin. It’s not a matter of one being better than the other - both hides are considered luxury leathers - but there are in fact several differences between the two.

Lambskin is a remarkably soft, buttery, lightweight and delicate leather. And yet, in spite of its thinness, it is windproof and protective, and stands up to cold climates better than most other natural (or even synthetic) materials. On the other hand, Calfskin is firmer, and more well balanced in terms of softness and durability. It is stronger, making it good for harsh conditions and withstanding abrasions.

As a general rule of thumb, lambskin is best for leather garments (jackets and coats) because its soft texture easily forms to the body, whereas calfskin is better for accessories (shoes, handbags, wallets, and related accessories) because it is tougher and retains its shape better. Either way, if properly maintained, both hides will last for generations.

Our designers often like to mix things up. Our sleek Carla clutch is an exquisite example of an accessory made with genuine lambskin leather. It has bold design and a unique look, making it the distinctive choice for the sophisticated woman on the go. If you prefer a sturdier bag, then the Borchia clutch is more your style. Made with genuine calfskin, it sports raised gunmetal pillars around the frame and a rhinestone ornament, giving it a very glamorous look.

Can't choose? Get both, you only live once!




The 5 minute makeover - NOTTEVERA

THE 5-MINUTE MAKEOVER

Everyone is pressed for time, we get it. We would all love an extra hour a day, but since that can only happen once a year, we have to think of the next best thing: a quick way to get ready and look great from the office to a night out with the girls.

The 5 minute makeover - NOTTEVERA

Start your ensemble with a cocktail dress crafted with a modest neckline. Think cowl or a not-too-scandalous V-neck rather than something strapless or one-shouldered. Now zip up an above-the-knee A-line skirt on top of that dress to turn it into a blouse for the work day. If your dress is printed, make sure it’s something that works with the temporary bottom. Add a leather bootie with personality, but without distracting details, something classy that will make you stand out from the crowd. Take along a posh tote to stow a petite makeup bag with essentials and an evening clutch.

As the day winds down, remove your skirt (remember, your dress is already on underneath), swap stud earrings for dramatic danglers and a crystal necklace, and allow for a quick touch-up – blush and lipstick. You can add some eyeliner to the mix or if you prefer, a bolder lip color. Stuff your tote under your desk and put your keys, cell and any absolutely necessary makeup items in your clutch.

You're ready. Enjoy your night, you look marvelous.

Luxury Leather Italian Handbags US

HANDBAG BUYING GUIDE

Sure, we obsess over them, but the truth is—just like shoes—we actually need a handbag (or ten). Where else would we put our wallets, cell phone, keys, lipstick, notepad, mints, tissues, etc.? One of the most rewarding aspects of buying a luxury handbag is that, regardless of which structure you choose, it will always be in vogue. 

Fashion shows may determine current trends, but the truth is that each style serves a different purpose and personality. After all, the more (handbags) the merrier!

Here's a brief introduction to different bag styles and how to wear them.

Bucket Bag- This sack-style purse usually closes with a drawstring or a snap. With its rounded bottom and less structured appearance it tends to work best in relaxed outfits. Try it out with a leather jacket and ripped jeans.

Clutch- A clutch is a small purse that is made with a wrist strap or otherwise without any handle. It gets its name because you literally “clutch” it in your grip. We recently saw a surge in this style for daytime, but it’s not as practical when you need two free hands. The style scores major points at nighttime with a cute ensemble, such as a jumpsuit and cage heels.

Crossbody- Forget the heinous fanny pack. Navigate a theme park or manage a shopping spree with this hands-free style. A long strap, traditionally adjustable with a belt buckle, lays flat between your chest with the mid-size to small purse safely at your side. The crossbody is great for weekends or even parties when checking your bag isn’t an option. 

Satchel- This prim purse is often structured but ranges from rigid to soft and flexible. A satchel always has top handles but often has a shoulder strap as well. It’s one of the most versatile styles because it can go to breakfast with the ladies, the office, a dinner date, shopping trip, and anywhere in between.

Shoulder Bag- Dainty and feminine, this elegant style features a thin strap and comes in a more compact size.  A shoulder bag is a lovely alternative to a clutch for an evening out.

Tote- A tote is traditionally rectangular with a distinct form and top carrying handles. You’re familiar with it because the casual canvas version is what you take to the farmers’ market. Upgrade the style in your mind by taking a peek at the bevy of beauties on our site. Our snazzy options feature leather and/or snakeskin. Traditionally made with a wide width, it’s perfect for holding a portfolio or taking with on your daily commute.

 And there you have it. Which one is your favorite?