Just the other day, Megs and I were having kind of an odd discussion. I don’t know how we ultimately landed on the topic, but somehow, the subject of pig leather came about. We both figured that it existed, since the nickname of “pigskin” for old-fashioned footballs certainly came from their porcine origins (although they were made from a pig’s bladder, not its skin, but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.) She and I spend exponentially more time than the average purse-lover studying the details of the world’s finest handbags, and neither of us could ever remember coming across a bag made primarily of pigskin.

Mere days later, and I come across the Rochas Pigskin Tote, from the first look at the brand’s Fall/Winter 2010 accessories collection. With a little research, I’ve found that Prada appears to have made a travel bag out of pigskin in 2007 and that there are many suppliers overseas offering the leather to manufacturers. Pigskin appears to be durable and at least reasonably attractive – why don’t we see it more often?

That’s a difficult question to answer, since I’m not inside the heads of the people that design high-end handbags and, as you would expect, basically none of them have ever commented on their lack of porcine accessories. That doesn’t mean we can’t recklessly speculate, however, and that’s exactly what I intend to do.

The more I looked, the more I found that workmanlike leather goods were mostly what utilized pigskin – work gloves, men’s boots, things that get dirty and take a beating. Somewhat unexpectedly, I also found that the material was quite popularly advertised as the main ingredient in lots of counterfeit bags.

Based on that information and what we see of the Rochas tote, it may be that pigskin is just a bit too durable and hardy for most luxurious bag designs. I could see it working for bags like this one that are super structured and clean-lined, but I think that pigskin is ideally left for more functional uses. Are Megs and I the only bag fans that have ever wondered about this?

Pricing information is unavailable at this time – the bag will debut in August. Photo via Style.com.

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  • zaali

    Did you know that Gucci also uses pigskin for their monogram leather trimmings? Also I saw two Balenciaga canvas bags with pigskin leather trimmings. All the inner shoe liners are also made of pigskin. Its skin can easily be detected. For me, the question is that pigskin leather is very very cheap and not that easy to tan or color. Why would a high end designers use something cheap and then charge a lot of money for something that would be only a few dollars worth? I would not buy it if that was the case, that is why I am very hesitant to pay for something that can be easily bought from China. Chinese leather goods are a mix of pigskin, cowhide and not very elegant.

    • http://www.purseblog.com/ Amanda Mull

      That’s interesting – it’s hard to find mentions of pigskin leather on luxury websites or from retailers, they seem to want to ignore the fact that part of the bag came from a pig. When I was searching yesterday, the only admission of use that I could find was the 2007 Prada bag that I mentioned. It doesn’t seem very appealing as a high-end material, but it doesn’t surprise me that designers sneak it in here and there to cut costs.

      • zaali

        Amanda, if you look at the Gucci bags closely, their wallets, Monogram bags and belt bags are mostly pigskin. One time I went into a Gucci store and I asked them upfront and they looked at me as if I had lost it. And they were hesitant to tell me and finally they showed me a few bags that were made with other kind of leathers. And I think that on one authentic UK web site, I saw the canvas Balenciaga bags and on close inspection, they had pigskin trimmings. They were for more than $ 1000. Give me a break! For canvas and cheap leather! I could get replicas for way less than that. And I am against cheap leather and replicas. I would rather not buy if I cannot get the real thing. (FB)

      • zaali
  • vicky

    I bought a hobo made out of pigskin once…After using it a few times, it started to stink!

  • Graciella

    Hermes has/had (I think not anymore) pigskin in their collections – peau porc lisse I think it is called. Looks great, with the pores visible. A truly unique skin.

  • marian t

    me don’t like pig skin bag! although i must say, rochas looks sleek. (fb)

  • BLynnT

    This bag seems like a great one for work – ultra professional and, apparently, quite durable. Although, if Vicky’s experience with a bad smell is common of this skin… maybe it’s not the best choice. Great information though and definitely something to be on the lookout for to see who uses it and how. (fb)

  • Amy

    The straps look too short. (fb)

  • Mika

    pigskin and it stinks.. oh well not worth it at all! (fb)

  • Sofia Nolan

    it`s a classy bag. classic never fades away. less designs on it doesn`t make it non attractive at all. black, elegant handles. perfect work bag maybe.

  • Debbie C

    Not a fan of pigskin and the handles on that Rochas look really weird. (fb)

  • Pat

    This was very informative…thanks for this post. I’ve never even thought of pig skin for use in leather goods. I like the classic shape of this Rochas Tote. (fb)

  • Shine

    i feel that the value cost of the bag is lost with a material that is not as durable as other leathers(fb)

  • Raleine

    first time i’ve heard of pig-skin bags. very interesting though. (fb)

  • Tiff Chao

    The bag is great for work but I don’t know if I’d carry it anywhere else. (fb)

  • umami

    One reason is that Muslims will not touch pork or pig-derived products. I know of Muslim SAs who would refuse to handle pigskin.

    • ad

      The reason we will not be touching or eating any pig-derived product is because it is prohibited in Islam.
      Perhaps if any of you needs to do more reading on this matter, you can look up here

      http://webziner.com/islam/whypork.htm

  • Valentina

    This tote: not appealing, pigskin: less appealing. A boring tote made of pigskin: … (fb)

  • Tamee

    I think of a pigskin bag and can’t seem to stop visualizing a pig, rolling around in the mud, eating slop – too dirty a picture. Not what I want to think of when I’m buying a bag! (fb)

  • robyn

    Very interesting, but I’m not fussy on this particular bag:( (fb)

  • Jacqueline

    Hm Pigskin….I wouldn’t mind owning a bag made of pig. The handles are a little short but I like the look. (fb)

  • clea walford

    Yes, not so sure of the pigskin but sure like the look of this bag!

  • Karin bag4bag

    I thought the same thing as Umami. As some cultures have nothing to do with pig products, by using their skin the companies would be instantly dismissing a large number of potential buyers. (fb)

  • swags

    Its a very basic/classic looking bag. I think its attractive. Not a must have imo. I would need to see/touch the pigskin in person to really give my thoughts on it (fb)

  • Natalie

    Huge wow on the fact that Gucci uses pigskin. How can you tell that something is made of pigskin? Does the grain differ?

    and “meh” on the bag.(fb)

  • Tiff Chao

    I would have to agree about pigskin being used only for certain bags. Def. not for a night out. (fb)

  • Kayla

    Not a fan of pigskin, nor the bag. (fb)

  • justa9url

    Wow, I always assumed leather was from cows…but now I should inquire about the leather. (fb)

  • Cate

    This bag does not do it for me. While I think the skin is pretty okay, the shape is off somehow. (fb)

  • Prisilia

    I’ve never felt a pigskin leather before and I’m not looking forward to one too. (fb)

  • popita

    definitely not something i have thought about. interesting post! (fb)

  • Leslie

    I actually never though about pigskin being used for purses or other things for that matter. I think it would be interesting to see how the texture is like and how it feels. (fb)

  • Mm

    Muslim don’t eat pig. There’s A LOT of rich muslim around. That’s why they don’t use pig to search for truffle as much as they used to.

  • Bag Brag

    I don’t know about you guys but I think the usage of pig skin is very much applauded. The amount of pork we eat and the additional waste?

    Did I mention that their texture is a wee bit more interesting?

    http://www.bagbrag.blogspot.com

  • MAX

    Yummy.

  • Jocephine

    I think pig skin is normally use to make shoes! (fb)

  • gacats

    This is not something I have previously given an ounce of thought to- I wonder if the texture is ugly?
    Although I find ostrich to be extremely creepy.
    If pigskin is super durable and not unattractive, perhaps some manufacturer will jump on the bandwagon. (fb)

  • CoutureCoco

    Not sure if someone has already mentioned it but pigs are offensive to Muslim hence they do not eat pork and presumably will not be carrying pig skin bags either.

    • CarolineLondon

      And cows are sacred to Hindus, but that doesn’t appear to have stopped the rest of the world using leather!
      Just like all exotics and furs, I think it’s a personal decision whether to buy them or not, that may or may not include religion as part of that decision.
      Personally I quite like the look of it for a structured tote – it looks like it wouldn’t lose it’s shape as fast as some softer leathers. Although if the comments about pig skin bags being smelly are right, then no thanks!

  • Susan Williams

    I likely-y, I like-y!. (fb)

  • Lianne

    It’s a very attractive bag. I wouldn’t mind the chance to see it in person. (fb)

  • jodleekha

    its kinda weird looking its not atractive at all but ewe who would bye this!!!

  • Monique

    who (fb)

  • Karen K.

    Pigskin is definitely an inferior leather. It’s cheap and is a throw-away leather, so to speak. It’s great for linings and has a slightly different texture, but it’s also generally thinner therefore it’s difficult to use for some things. I own an independent leather business and work with pigskin occasionally and I would have no problem carrying a pigskin bag. I find nothing wrong with it other than it’s on the low end of the leather spectrum, but I would never pay a designer price for it! Thats for sure. (fb)

  • Roxanna

    Ehh this bag does nothing for me. I wouldnt look twice at it. (fb)

  • Ginger

    Love it! It looks so soft & supple! (fb)

  • Yoonmee

    Nice bag! I never really wondered about the lack of pigskin bags, but you bring up some good questions. I would have no problem carrying around a pigskin bag, especially if maybe the price point were lower than other leathers.

  • Emily B

    Due to certain religions, there are a majority who are not able to touch pigskin. This used to be a problem for Gucci. Thankfully, due to large spenders from the Middle East, they have now replaced pigskin with other leathers to capture a wider market.

    PS- Puma’s shoes are also made of pig skin. Zara too. Alot of pigskin linings mostly for shoes.

  • Alanna

    this just looks like a really boring bag and what’s with the really short handles? (fb)

  • sndc99

    I have no problem with pigskin, lamb, cow, goat or anything that makes a pretty bag. (fb)

  • esaybag

    i am not mind what leather it made of

  • Mochababe73

    Forget about the use of pigskin. This handbag is just boring.

    As long as it’s not human skin, I don’t care. I just want my leather to be soft and supple. If it’s anything like a football, no thanks.

    • Mochababe73

      (fb)

  • Adrienne Zedella

    looks soft (fb)

  • peach

    kate spade has BOARskin bags in the past for their same line. Now they do calfskin with a faux Boarskin look.

  • Mia

    I’m a Muslim and I would not touch anything pig-derived such as pigskin! Calf and lambskin is more gorgeous anyway :)

  • Adrienne Zedella

    alittle too structured for me (fb)

  • Deborah Curran

    I look at this and all I can think of is “briefcase”. To structured for me (fb)

  • Joy Park

    Agree with Deborah Curran and Adrienne Zedella.
    Looking a bit too much like my dad’s suitcase.. (fb)

  • Adrienne Zedella

    stiff (fb)

  • faith24

    hmm Rochas is such an obscure brand – surprised to see this bag. i actually like it- love structure and simplicity (fb)

  • Jocelyn

    I don’t like how short the straps are. (fb)

  • Lisa

    Hindus only do not consume beef, but they have no problem with anything else cows related – milk, cheese, yogurt, leather, etc. Muslim would certainly not touch directly anything pig related nonetheless carry it around, not sure about the Jews.
    Plus pigskin is not as soft nor luxurious as calf/lamb skin. Such products will certainly lose a lot of prospective customers.

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