Only known to a few skilled craftsmen and not to the world at large, except for those few idiosyncratic individuals who study the macabre; human skin can easily be prepared, stretched, tanned and bound to create fashionable accessories just as successfully as the rawhide of animals, as demonstrated by Human Leather. In fact, it's been so successful that antiquated books have been leather-bound using the flesh of humans on more than one occasion.
Maybe you've never heard the stories of physicians who've made covers, cases or handle grips for their instruments using a section of skin. You may or may not have heard of amputees using the skin of that severed limb to fashion souvenir accessories. And what about that company that uses human leather for designer wallets, belts and shoes?
If you haven't heard of them, it's probably because their products range from anywhere between $14,000 to $27,000 USD, and with a small, yet reputable clientele who request a degree of secrecy, combined with a supply of material not easily obtainable, though when stocked is only of the finest quality, everything they do is deemed perfectly legal.
They are Human Leather, and they are innovators of their trade. From craftsmen, wholesalers, artisans and leaders of leather manufacturing, they produce “the best and most beautiful products out of our unique leather” from donated human flesh, according to the site. While using human leather to create wallets, belts and shoes may be repulsive to some, the truth is, throughout history the use of human skin to fashion accessories has long been practiced.
However, it wasn't until the 17th and 18th century that binding human skin became a more adopted occurrence. With the 1765 French Encyclopedie giving a recipe for tanning human skin, as well as a documented statement of a surgeon named M. Sue presenting a king with a pair of slippers fashioned from human skin, it appears that the use of human leather to customize accessories wasn't just an isolated phenomenon.
Though the activity isn't as common as it was in the days when flaying was considered a common practice in torture techniques, Human Leather has seen such a high demand for their product that they've had to place their clientele on waiting lists.