Skins are a fun way to customize your phone, but if you’re a materials snob like me, vinyl just doesn’t cut it. If you like the concept but you’ve got an appreciation for natural materials, you’ll want to zip over to dbrand’s site today and register for the company’s upcoming leather skins — as in, actual it-used-to-moo-and-eat-grass cow leather. Both stock and details are limited, and you can’t buy one just yet, but dbrand was willing to tell us a little bit about the upcoming skins.
I’ve always liked the idea of phone skins, but I’m a natural materials snob. Whenever possible, I wear natural fabrics like cotton, wool, silk, and linen, avoiding artificial materials like nylon or polyester. It just feels nicer, and my pretentiousness extends to phones too. I love natural and premium materials. Frankly, I think vinyl is kind of gross, and I usually either go caseless or enjoy cases that use natural materials.
So, as an unabashed lover of leather, I’m pretty psyched dbrand is finally making a skin that caters to me.
The new dbrand leather skins will be available in Black and Brown colorways, though we are told that pricing will be higher than the company’s existing vinyl skins to match the more premium materials. dbrand can’t tell us the tannery or tannage (i.e., vegetable tan, chrome tan) that it’s using, and only leather nerds like me will care anyway, but we are told it’s top-grain leather. The term is sometimes abused to include grain-corrected leather (which is eh), but typically that means the outermost layer of the skin and the part you want. Some other “genuine” or “grain-corrected” leather that doesn’t specify what it is can be what’s called a “split” that’s basically dog food coated with textured vinyl. It’s gross. Ultimately, none of these names are determiners of quality in themselves.
The Black colorway (Brown at the top of the page).
dbrand’s leather skins will measure under half a millimeter thick, which the company claims is the first time this has been done in this form factor. (The last time I looked into the subject, leather skins from other vendors were thicker than that.) The company also worked with 3M to develop an adhesive specifically for this to better ensure a bubble-free application and to leave behind no residue.
The new skins will launch this fall and be available for “select smartphones, laptops, tablets, and gaming consoles,” though a precise list wasn’t available. However, it will be available for the company’s Grip Cases as well. Again, supplies will be limited, so you may want to register if it’s something you’re interested in.
As a leather snob in a family of former ranchers, I’d also like to point out one important detail before anyone gets on a high horse: Most cow leather isn’t like, specifically farmed. Most of it is a byproduct of the meat industry and would be wasted if we didn’t use it. Leather demand is already down a ton. If you want to eschew leather and meat, do what makes you happy, I totally understand that position. But, for the most part, not buying a pair of leather shoes, a handbag, or a phone skin isn’t gonna save any cows by itself (though it is a different story for some other animal leathers).