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Always a step ahead with new finishes

3 January 2006

The Klein Karoo tannery is an international pioneer in terms of the dyeing and finishing of ostrich leather. KLEIN KAROO keeps pace with modern fads and the preferences of international fashion houses. The research team is constantly developing new finishes, which are then introduced to the market at international shows.

"KLEIN KAROO Tannery is the largest and most modern ostrich leather tannery. We offer ostrich leather in more than 500 shades and there are currently 20 bone leather finishes to choose from. Every year we add about 50 new shades. We develop new colours according to our clients’ preferences. One of our major tasks is to ensure that each skin that is dyed is exactly the same colour as the sample provided by the client. To ensure that the colour is correct, a section of skin is dyed and only if the colour matches the client’s sample, the rest of the skins will be dyed. Machine dyeing is inadequate, because each skin responds differently to the dyeing process. Each skin is then finished off until the colour is perfect. Although ostrich skins are dyed in large quantities, they are not all the same colour and we must take the necessary steps to ensure that each skin matches the client’s specifications," says Du Toit Kruger, head of research and development at the KLEIN KAROO Tannery.

The ultimate use of the leather will determine the thickness and type of finish to ensure a durable end product. Ostrich is not only popular in the fashion world for the manufacturing of clothes, handbags, purses, belts and jewellery, but is also sought after as upholstery for furniture. The latest market that KLEIN KAROO penetrated recently is the vehicle upholstery industry.

We are constantly experimenting to obtain new visual effects. One of the latest crazes is to wear leather with an aged look. One way of getting this look is the so-called ‘pull up’ finish. Clothes with this finish show wrinkles as bleached lines when the garment takes on the body’s shape. These lines will disappear automatically approximately 20 minutes after the wrinkle mark appeared,” says Newald Groenewald, an assistant technician who works on finishes.

“The standard finishes, for example the Saddle Finish used mainly for handbags, are very popular. The Saddle Finish has many uses and is adapted only slightly for shoe leather or high-performance furniture leather.

“I believe we have a competitive edge because of our innovation, our ability to keep pace with the fashion world and even be a step ahead, as well as our capacity to fill a client’s order according to their colour specifications and preferred finish, within days,” says Charles Burger, Tannery manager of KLEIN KAROO International.

Source: World of KLEIN KAROO (Newsletter of the KLEIN KAROO Group)

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