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13th September 2017
Our beginners' guide to leather provides a swift overview about the world’s second oldest fashion material.
First there were fig leaves. Then came leather. Skip a few hundred (or thousand) years and the introduction of the tanning process helped leather become one of the most loved natural materials. We see leather everywhere. In our homes, our cars, on our favourite celebs. Some of us even remember kicking a real leather football. Leather has incredible versatility, and this makes it such a wonderful material for the fashion industry.
Well, the first notable difference is the animal. Cow, buffalo, sheep, pig, goat, and of course some rarer options. They have different properties and therefore lend themselves to different end products.
If you’ve looked around our website, you may have noticed that we don’t really talk about grains. This is because we only use the best grade of leather in our products. And, grains tend to be a way to distract people from the original raw material and the leather finish. Using the full grain, or top grain from a thin skin, or the flank of a hide, won’t give you a great quality jacket. But grains allow manufacturers to up-sell their products. Add a suitable amount of pigment, or plastic coating and any piece of leather may look great initially. If the jacket is made from the flank, they’ll have limited flexibility and quickly lose their shape.
But, as you asked and this is a guide to leather, here’s a picture…
The different grains have their uses. If you’re producing a soft, supple, lightweight suede jacket you don’t want full grain. But, as a simple rule of thumb:
We generally 'grade' our leather on the finish we apply:
We’ve mentioned it before, but it depends on the products. A good example is gloves. Leather gloves, or rather our leather gloves, are made from hair-sheep from warmer climates. Unlike the woolly sheep we have in the UK, hair-sheep have less follicles per inch, the follicles don’t go as deep, and the skin is thinner. This makes it perfect for ensuring you get a tight, yet flexible fit. The durable nature of hair-sheep leather also helps our gloves last longer.
All the leather we use is a by-product of the meat industry. We source our own raw materials. The majority of our jackets are made from leather sourced in Great Britain.
Leather, like any natural material, will age better with some care and attention. Pre-protecting your leather will help defend it from stains, and then a regular clean will keep it looking great. Different leather finishes require different treatments, and we go into far more detail on our leather cleaning page.
Countless… well, to be honest, we’ve lost count. We’re one of the biggest leather jacket retailers in the UK and have been around since 1955.
One that you’ll love! There's no definite answer, or guide to leather jacket buying that applies to every person. If you’ve never tried on a leather jacket you’ll be surprised by how they can make you feel. A leather jacket could possibly be the most expensive item of clothing you’ll ever purchase. It needs to feel right, and it needs to make you feel amazing. That’s our rule.
Age, shape, size, figure – none of it matters. There’s a style, a fit, a colour for everyone and for every occasion.