Journal

How are leather belts and horn buckles made?

How are leather belts made? How are cow horn buckles and buttons crafted? An artisanal collaboration between Chile and Peru.

Since 2015, we have cultivated a sustained relationship with Peruvian and Chilean artisans to create leather belts and cow horn buckles. 

These timeless accessories are the result of an artisanal collaboration made between Peru and Chile. 

Today, we are happy to share more about how our horn buckles and leather belt straps are made.  

 

1. Santiago, Chile

 

The process begins with design. At the SISA studio, we test shapes and measurements in order to achieve final forms and dimensions for the buckles and belts.

 

2. San Juan de Lurigancho, Peru

 

In Peru, a workshop of expert artisans work with cow horns by hand—each horn is washed, cut longitudinally, cooked over wood fire, opened, pressed, and finally cut into individual pieces that are hand carved into the final shapes. 

This process takes several hours.

As a result, we get a smooth, firm, and durable buckle. Given that cow horn is a 100% natural material, each buckle is unique in its coloring and tones. 

The use of cow horn to make buttons and accessories is a very old trade in Latin America. For this small-scale production, horns are not expressly obtained for craftwork—rather, it recovers a material that would otherwise be wasted. 

This trade has been the work of generations of artisans who have perfected the responsible treatment of this material. 

 

3. Valparaíso, Chile

 

The finished cow horn buckles are shipped to Chile to be complemented with the craftsmanship of Juan Acosta, an expert saddler and leather artisan from Valparaíso, who handcrafts the leather straps for our belts. 

In 1971, at 18 years old, Juan started his apprenticeship in Talca, Chile, his hometown. He studied under master José Naranjo, with whom he learned the first saddling techniques. At 35 years old, Juan travelled to Italy to perfect his work.

Juan has managed to develop a trade with its own identity that stands out for its delicate hand sewing and impeccable finishes, over more than 50 years. In 2009, Juan was awarded the sello de Excelencia en Artesanía de Chile, a national artisan recognition in the country.

At SISA we are committed to fostering this chain of craftsmanship, fair trade, and artisanal collaboration through our accessories. 

Currently, we are also collaborating with artisans that work with combarbalita stone in Chile, and Huamanga stone in Peru.