Vintage leather, distressed leather, vintage-inspired leather… with all these popular terms floating around, it’s worth asking, “What does vintage leather mean?” There are two key distinctions.
In regard to clothing, vintage technically refers to items 20 to 100 years old. (Anything older than 100 years is considered antique.) Regarding leather specifically, vintage tends to refer to items that pre-date the early 1980’s.
As high-quality leather ages, rather than wearing out, it burnishes and beautifies, developing a much sought-after patina and unique character that cannot be easily duplicated. When you own a true vintage leather item, you own a piece of history - and you ought to care for it as such. Take special care to avoid getting the leather soaked, and be sure to regularly use a quality leather conditioner.
But don’t worry—if Pops isn’t ready to pass down his vintage leather briefcase yet, high-quality leather bags with a vintage-inspired or distressed finish can definitely be found. The quality of the leather is the biggest key, as the higher the quality, the more character it will naturally render.