'Real leather'

There is a lot to do around this theme. When can you call leather "real" leather? And what is not permitted by law?
You can read all about it on this page.

Definition RAL 061 A1
The offering or sale of products in which the terms leather, real leather or an expression connected with an unambiguous reference to a type of leather (bovine, nappa, nubuck, etc.) is only permitted if the material consists of split or non-split animal skin which, with preservation of the original fiber braids, made sustainable by tanning. In the case of leather with a top layer of, for example, foil, plastic or lacquer, this layer may not be thicker than 0.15 mm.

Refined aniline
With the introduction of the classification “refined aniline leather”, aniline leather, with improved usage properties, can be offered separately. With immediate effect, the following classification now applies for the finishes of leather:

  • 3.1 Natural aniline leather
    With natural aniline leather, natural features and pores are clearly and fully visible, with the finish by means of an unpigmented finish being less than or equal to 0.01 mm.
  • 3.2 Refined aniline leather
    A finish with a small amount of color pigments can be used for refined aniline leather. The aim is to equalize the color, the natural characteristics and pores are still clearly visible and the hair channels are not completely closed by this finish. The thickness of this surface finish should not exceed 0.01 mm.
  • 3.3 Semi-aniline leather
    Semi-aniline leather uses a pigmented finish that contains so few pigments that the natural characteristics and pores are still clearly visible.
  • 3.4 Pigmented leather
    With pigmented leathers, the natural features are completely covered with color pigments.

Legal Exclusions
Word connections with the term leather or names that seem to refer to types of leather or leather are only permitted for leather fiber fabrics and imitation leather. Combinations such as PU leather, Recycling leather, Textile leather are not allowed. However, all raw materials may be indicated such as e.g. for “split leather with a top layer of microfibre fabric”.

Last update: April 2021


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