Flickr photo of the day: My handbag is made with this???

Michael Clemmer

So you think your job stinks? This man is soaking animal skins in water that is laced with pigeon droppings, cow urine and grenadine; all so you can visit Morocco and bring home a wonderfully soft leather purse.

With immense help from the “Material Innovations” blog, the story goes like this:

In the heart of the city of Fez, there is a section called Old Medina. Here, for nearly a thousand years, men have climbed into vats of noxious liquids to turn the skins of sheep, goats and cows into something very desirable. Somebody’s got to do it.

Though worse for the environment, newer methods have come along to replace the “natural chemicals” with stuff like chromium, formic acid and sulfur; nothing to dangle one’s legs in. The new methods help turn out 2,000 skins a day, as opposed to just a few if done the old fashioned, “healthier” way.

Photograph by viaggionelmondo.

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