The Man Who Finds Out What Designer Handbags Cost... By Setting Fire To Them

The Man Who Finds Out What Designer Handbags Cost... By Setting Fire To Them

There’s no status symbol quite like the designer handbag, but have you ever wondered what really makes one so much more expensive than its High Street lookalike?

One leather craftsman is on a mission to find out, using some drastic methods: cutting up pricey designer handbags, pouring harsh chemical acetone on the expensive leather and then setting the remains alight.

It might sound like sacrilege, but it’s the only way Volkan Yilmaz can discover precisely how a bag is made and what materials are used.

And it makes compulsive viewing: he’s got 755,000 followers on his TikTok channel, @tanner.leatherstein, and his videos have been liked seven million times.

There are some shocking revelations - like the £995 Chanel purse which he estimated was worth just £75 in leather, other materials and labour costs.

Or the Bottega Veneta handbag that cost £2,076, but which Volkan declared to be worth only £207.

Those numbers are based on serious insider knowledge. Born in Turkey, Volkan’s family owned a tannery, and he started working with leather at the age of 11. He now lives in the U.S. and has his own accessories brand, Pegai.

He explains: ‘The first thing I do when I assess a leather bag is just feel it. Does it feel plasticky or can I feel the natural form of the leather?’

Often, he says, luxury brands ‘standardise’ leather, applying an acrylic layer to cover up any marks or flaws.

Disclaimer: This is a republished part of an original story which can be accessed here