What is "genuine leather" and what does the label mean?
A ‘genuine leather’ tag used to mean a lot a few years ago, but over the years, genuine leather has become a misnomer of sorts for leather. The tag does not carry much weight except to indicate that you are buying a material that is real leather (as opposed to pleather/PU leather etc.).
Today, the mainstream retail market is flooded with many cheap, low cost bags etc. sold at a premium price. Most of these have a ‘genuine leather’ tag, but are mostly made from the cheapest grade of real leather. And the lower the price tag, the higher the chance that it has just some component of real leather, mixed with plastic or scrap shavings of leather.
The highest grade is Full Grain Leather, followed by Corrected Grain Leather, and finally Split Leather (widely called Genuine Leather in the retail leather industry).
Don’t expect much out of a product made with ‘genuine leather’, probably a couple of years and you will have to go wholesale pu leather again, whether you paid a pittance or fortune for it.
Now, its a different story altogether if the product specs have the words ‘grain’ in it along with ‘genuine’. So it could read ‘genuine grain leather’ or ‘genuine corrected grain’ or simply, ‘full grain leather’ or ‘corrected grain’. Generalizing a bit here, but a label which says this means the product will last you for years to come. Of course, a lot depends on the craftsmanship as well.