This is an email reply from the guy at Leather Goods Connection. I posted this a while back on Superfuture regarding the differences between bridle and harness leather, and untanned/unfinished leather...I thought it could be relevant here...
"If leather isn't tanned it isn't leather, it's just a skin that will rot and attract flies. Pass that information on to your friends at style forum or nudies.
You are asking for 'Natural russet oak tanned leather'.
Bridle leather is the same oak tanned leather as harness leather that has additional treatment with tallow and oil. It varies from tannery to tannery, as does the oak leather itself. It is a complicated chemical and mechanical process to preserve the skin of an animal and transform it into leather.
Natural russet oak leather is clean, flesh colored, and open grained when new. Without some sealer or wax on it it will absorb all sorts of things, dye, dirt, oil, food, etc.
I know what the buzz is and for the most part is uninformed and even stupid. Hand stained and finished leather will change with use and become unique to each individual and have a nice broken in leathery look. Unstained and unfinished will change also and have a nice, dirty, ugly, pulled from a dumpster look.
Most leather products that are available and have been available in your lifetime, have an aniline finish on them. It does not break in, it breaks down, and wears off. They use this finish, which is sprayed on like paint, instead of being worked into the leather as is done with hand staining, to get a uniform color and to cover blemishes in the leather. They have become so good at making it look like vinyl that they have to stamp "Genuine Leather" on it for you to know it isn't vinyl. My plain leather belts are finished in this way. My harness leather belts are hand stained and finished, and thus cost more. The hand sewn wallet is hand stained. The calfskin machine sewn wallets can be made out of the oak hand stained leather by request at additional cost. I won't make them unstained because they would be ugly. I have been selling unstained belts. I bevel and burnish the edges to make them smooth. When they get dirty and sweat stained, you can always dye them black."