Real Leather- What does it mean?

When the terms Real Leather or Genuine Leather are used it is to describe an item that is made from authentic actual leather as opposed to artificial leather. When purchasing a leather item such as a leather bag or a leather jacket, it is important to consider the difference between real leather and fake leather in order to make an informed decision as to which type of leather you want to invest in. To start with there are several questions worth thinking about before you decide genuine leather is better than fake leather or vice versa.

Is Real Leather good Leather

Just because an item is made from real Leather does not automatically mean it will be of a high quality. There are many different levels to real level both in terms of quality and price. A good rule of thumb is the higher the quality of genuine leather the more expensive the item will be. However, that isn’t an exact science. Real leather comes in three different levels- Full-grain leather, top-grain leather and split grain leather. Full grain Leather is the highest quality genuine leather and will come with a justified higher price point, whereas split-grain level is the lowest quality of the three and therefore you should not be paying that top tier price point.

Does Real Leather come from a certain animal?

The short answer is no, the term Real or Genuine Leather only mean that this leather has come from an animal, but it doesn’t refer to a specific animal. There are many different animals from which leather can be produced: a cow is the most common, but real leather can also come from a sheep or a lamb.

How do you know if a product is made of Real Leather?

The easiest way to identify if a product is made of real Leather is to just ask the sales staff. Otherwise there are seven tips that will help you tell the difference between real and fake leather.

  • The Smell: Real Leather has a distinct smell which artificial leather can not recreate.


  • The Surface: The highest quality genuine Leather items which will be made from either Full-grain or Top-grain leather will have natural discrepancies. The slight marks or flaws are a sign of real leather and will help you to authenticate the leather item. Artificial leather is given the leather pattern by a machine and therefore will have a very consistent pattern.


  • Touch: Artificial leather items often feel fake, they don’t have the same automatic luxurious, high quality feel. Often Artificial leather will feel stiff whereas Real Leather items especially the top-quality products have a soft touch.


  • Water Test: As a natural material Real Leather will quickly be able to absorb liquids, whereas for Artificial Leather it will take some time. Try pouring a little bit of water on your leather jacket or leather sofa and see how quickly it is absorbed.


  • Patina: Real Leather will develop a nice patina the more you wear an idea whereas Fake Leather will just fade. The fake that authentic leather patinas is often a reason why people love their leather items so much and why there is a huge market for vintage leather goods. Patina by definition is just when natural oils reacts and are absorbed by the leather, this is seen by your originally pale leather bag turning a rich range of deep browns.


  • Price: Of course, you cannot solely base the decision on price because if the brand has a lot of weight behind their name then the price will be higher for that reason too. However, often real high-quality leather will hold a higher price point.


However, in spite of all these tips with technology improvements, it is easier for brands to replicate real leather and being able to tell the difference is more difficult. Our advice would be to just ask the company as they will be able to categorically tell you if the leather bag is made from real Leather or artificial leather.

Why is it important to distinguish Real Leather from Artificial Leather?

  • Transparency: As a consumer you want to know what you are purchasing and knowing if you have purchased a genuine Leather bag will help you to care for it in a different way.


  • Price: As the quality of the full-grain real Leather is so high, a higher price point would be justified. Knowing the difference enables you to make an informed decision as to whether the price point is worth the product.


  • Beliefs: Those that live a vegan lifestyle will not want a real leather item because of the impact it has on animals and therefore they will need to know the difference to avoid a product that has been made in a way that is against their beliefs.

What is Artificial Leather?

Artificial or Fake Leather can come in many different forms, bonded leather is the most common option. Although Bonded Leather would not be suitable for those following a planet-based lifestyle because Bonded Leather is created by using the scraps of leather and combining or bonding it with a polyurethane coating. Other forms of Artificial or Fake Leather will be created entirely out of a synthetic substance. These will be the lowest quality type of leather and will often come with the plastic smell.

Leather Care

Often investing in high quality leather products come with a high price point and therefore you expect them to last a lifetime. However, whilst real leather products are a high quality you still need to care for them in order for them to last a lifetime looking great.

Radley Leather Care Sachet


The Radley Protection Cloth has been specially formulated for use on Radley leathers. It will protect the leather with an invisible barrier helping to minimise the effects of everyday dirt and soiling. We recommend applying the Protection Cloth before using your product. This product is intended for single use.

Radley Leather Care Foam


The Radley leather cleaner has been specially formulated for use on Radley leathers. It will assist in the removal of general soiling and water based stains. Only use on Radley leather products. We recommend applying the Radley Leather Foam and Protect Cloth before using your product.

Radley Leather Bags

We use only the finest leathers to bring our iconic handbag designs to life. Expect lasting quality, vibrant colours and beautiful textures across totes, shoulder bags, clutches and more.

Arlington Court- Medium Zip-Top Multiway Bag


Meet the must-have handbag of the season. Take our Arlington Court multiway from work to the weekend with ease, featuring multi-compartments and a soft leather finish this design will keep you organised without compromising on style. Wear across your body or use the grab handles and be on your way! Every exceptional woman needs a handbag they can rely on – whether you’re headed to a meeting or a casual dinner date, these silhouettes are the perfect fit.- Crafted from soft leather- Back slip pocket- Detachable cross body strap- Grab handles- Radley London foil branding- Leather feet on the base- Two internal slip pockets- One internal slip pocket- Comes with a Radley dust bag.

Ada Street- Medium Flapover Backpack


Designed with a timeless, minimalist style in mind, our new Ada Street backpack is the dream accessory for every adventure. While its roomy interior offers ample space for on-the-go essentials, the leather drawstring and push lock fastening ensure security. Its adjustable leather straps promise day-long comfort too. Worn over the shoulder or carried by the top handle, this effortless style will complement all your favourite outfits – and your plans.

Cecil Square- Medium Zip Around Multiway Bag


Lend a sophisticated touch to everyday ensembles with the Cecil Square bag. Crafted from grainy leather, with a front zip-around compartment in smooth leather, it features multi-compartments with zip features, and a detachable wide shoulder strap. The unique silhouette will blend effortlessly with your weekdays and weekend outfits.

Face to Face- Medium Multiway Grab Bag


A sleek accessory perfect for everyday wear, our Face to Face multiway bag satisfies every demand without compromising on style. Crafted from soft leather, the effortless staple is thoughtfully designed with multiple pockets to maximise its practicality. Its appliqué embellishment and hanging Radley dog charm add a touch of colour – and playfulness. Work or weekend, the refined cross body bag will sit beautifully against your silhouette.

Fountain Road- Medium Zip-Top Backpack


An update on one of your favourite collections, Postman’s Park, these soft grainy leather styles are ideal for the everyday. This domed backpack adds an on-trend touch to your day-to-day wardrobe, while offering spacious internal compartments for all your essentials.

Turn your out of office on and prepare for weekend trips away with a new accessory. These designs are the perfect go-to for everyday wear, plus the double zip feature offers a trend-led lift to casual looks.

Radley Non-Leather Bags

If you’re looking for a casual alternative to your everyday leather bag, we have a collection of stylish non-leather handbags and canvas bags that are perfect for adding to your daytime wardrobe. Combining durable, lightweight materials with functional pockets and playful details, our large collection of fabric handbags includes waterproof totes, cotton bags and oilskin backpacks.

Here at Radley, we combine style, quality and functionality in our accessories, helping you find the ideal bag to match any outfit. Whether you’re looking for a large weekend bag or a practical laptop bag, you can discover non-leather bags that will be sure to become faithful wardrobe staples. We take pride in quality craftsmanship and use only the finest materials for our iconic designs, so you know that when you invest in one of our cloth or nylon bags, they will not only be long-lasting but will also stay in style, season after season.

Crofters Way- Large Open Top Tote Bag


For a silhouette that’s stylish yet versatile, opt for this large open top tote from our Crofters Way collection. Crafted from smooth nylon fabric and finished with perforated detailing and multi-compartments, you’ll be able to keep all your essentials in check, while the grab handle and cross body strap give you the choice on how to carry it!

Pocket Essentials- Large Zip-Top Tote Bag


Inspired by our much-loved Pocket Bag, this lightweight and spacious nylon tote is perfect as a laid-back everyday bag. A great size for all your essentials, plus a little more, you can rest this design on your shoulder and be on your way. A Radley staple that you can’t say no to! Easy to wear whether you’re on your way to work or on casual shopping trips, you’ll be fully prepared with a classic design like this one to hand.

Heritage Flower- Large Open Top Shoulder Bag


Designed with a remastered floral print, this large silhouette from our Heritage Flower collection will offer a retro feel to everyday outfits. Crafted with chic tan trims and a spacious interior, you won’t have to compromise on fashion or functionality. Equipped with practical shoulder straps, you’ll be able to effortlessly swing this design over your shoulder when on your daily commute.

Carpenters Yard- Medium Flapover Cross Body Bag


Invest in a style for the season ahead with a bag from our Carpenters Yard collection. With fashion and functionality at the forefront, this bag is crafted from canvas fabric with a flapover front and PU trims for a chic touch. Finished with a handy cross body strap, you’ll be able to stay hands-free while shopping or travelling!

With city breaks booked and work trips in the diary, why not choose a travel companion that you’ll turn to at every opportunity? Cue our smart new canvas handbags in summery neutrals, available across must-have silhouettes.