Many of Okapi’s bags are created using our signature blesbok skin which is unique to Okapi. A Blesbok is an antelope indigenous to South Africa characterized by a distinctive white blaze on the face and a horizontal brown stripe above the eyes. The blesbok is one of the most abundant animals in South Africa, it is not classed as endangered and there are no threats to its long-term survival. Further information regarding this can be found at the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s website here.
Given the authenticity that is at the very core of Okapi we were drawn to the use of the blesbok skin due to its authentic nature which includes scarring and evidence of the animal living in its natural environment. Blesbok skin is in keeping with our ethos as it is sustainably and ethically sourced as a bi-product of the food industry in Africa.
Okapi has pioneered the use of blesbok leather. Traditionally blesbok skin was neither dehaired or coloured. The development of this bi product of the food industry was a prolonged process which required much patience. All of the research and the development for the use of blesbok skin took place in house.The process began with farmers around Africa who produce the skins as a bi product of existing farming processes. Following this the skins go to the co operatively run tannery in Outeniqua, with whom we have developed the finished skin. Some of our blesbok skins are embossed with a zebra print. Skilled artisans use a hot plate to stamp the skins with a zebra print, creating an effect which is unique to Okapi. The development of this leather has been a challengeing and lengthy process in order to achieve the level of quality which is synonymous with Okapi.
View more of the Blesbok collection here