Ecco Leather, a leather innovator primarily based in the Netherlands, premiered the world’s first soft transparent cow-skin leather Wednesday.
The innovative leather, named Apparition for its ‘ghostlike appearance’, appears transparent, pliable and supple, allowing for new unique design possibilities.
This is not leather’s first foray into transparency, with smaller hides like those of goats and sheep allowing a level of transparency. However, the leather posed a pliability problem, offering a stiff, rigid texture and the inability to get wet.
“The technique of keeping the leather soft, is obviously a trade secret,” said Sruli Recht, creative director and lead of the Ecco Leather project. “It came out of the challenge of rethinking leather aesthetics in terms of both visual and touch properties. We asked ourselves: ‘What would be the Holy Grail of leather?’ I would say it would be creating a futuristic material that still maintains the properties that we know, love, and require from leather.”
Ecco’s intimate team of innovators worked for three years studying old Egyptian and Greek tanning techniques, combining these ways with modern applications. Hence, Apparition came to fruition.
“Our aim was to identify concrete ways we could combine our deep tanning experience with the significant horsepower of our state-of-the-art R&D facility in the Netherlands to push the technology forward, solving practical issues that have eluded the industry up-to-now like lasting pliability and the ability to get wet,” said Recht. “The process after creating a new material, a new class of leather even, is to develop it into objects and show what it can do, and then present it as a narrative: how it moves, how it flows, how it bends, how it feels.”
The leather can be made in a range of colors and be applied to anything from shirts to shoes.