8 Things You Didn’t Know About Leather
Leather is one of the strongest and oldest materials in the world and the leather industry has, in fact, been booming for well over 1000 years. Leather is also one of the most commonly used materials in the creation of products, such as furniture, books and of course clothing. While cheaper synthetics may take your fancy, fashionistas are always drawn to real leather, thanks to its lifelong durability and luxurious quality.
If you’re a fan of leather, you probably thought you were clued-up on all there is to know about it. We have put together some facts that may just blow your mind:
Some people are off-put by the idea of buying leather with the belief that it’s bad for the environment. There were suggestions that it takes hundreds of years to decompose when it’s discarded. This is not the case. You may be surprised to know that leather only takes up to 40 years to fully decompose when exposed to bacteria, which is extremely quick in comparison to other materials you buy on a day-to-day basis.
Leather is hardened through the tanning process
Leather is extremely weak before its tanned and processed. In fact, it’s so fragile that it can break apart while it’s in your hand. It’s during the tanning stage in which the leather becomes harder, stronger and much more resilient to wear and tear. This is due to the fact that all of the animal fats contained within it are removed, which gives the unprocessed leather its soft feel. Its thanks to this process, that leather becomes a material that lasts in the years to come.
Some types of leather are water-resistant
On the most part, it’s essential to keep leather away from water as it can damage the fabric and even instigate the growth of fungus. (Yuck!) Yet, there are some types of leather that are water-resistant, so it’s not too much of an issue if you get caught in an unexpected downpour. Deerskin is a type of leather that can withstand water, as opposed to the most commonly used cows’ leather. Specialists believe this is down to the fact that deer are used to living in damp conditions and their skin has gradually adapted to the environment.
Leather jackets are difficult to make
You may have wondered why leather jackets in particular, have a hefty price tag. Alongside their high-quality, luxurious finish and hard-wearing superiority, they’re extremely hard to make. Most of the real leather jackets you’ll see online and in stores have been intricately crafted by hand, which takes hours of dedicated skill and concentration. Also, leather is expensive for companies to buy in, so all in all, the cost of a leather jacket is reflected in all of these aspects.
You can protect leather with saddle soap
Purchasing a real leather item is a huge investment to make, therefore, it’s important you understand how to maintain and care for it. Experts recommend you use saddle soap both as a cleaner and conditioner for the leather surface to prevent it from drying out and cracking. Ultimately, this specialised soap moisturises the leather and forms a protective layer.
When you purchase a leather jacket, make sure you invest in saddle soap and a specialised wax right away. The earlier you start maintaining it, the longer your leather jacket will last. It’s not time-consuming either. You only need to condition your jacket twice per year on average.
Leather jackets date back to 1900
Most people associate leather jackets with the film, ’Grease’ and believe that they were first introduced back in the 1950s. Interestingly, they’re much older than that. They were being worn as early as 1900, typically for military purposes. Later on, airmen would throw them over their uniforms when flying at high altitudes to shield them from the biting cold. So, now you know how the aviator-style leather jacket was born.
Some ‘leather’ isn’t leather at all
Many people buy ‘leather’ items without thought and presume its genuine, simply on a quick visual basis. What you may not realise is that there are different qualities of leather, based on their grain texture.
Top grain is usually leather that’s not 100% genuine and has been artificially finished in a grained texture by sanding and buffing. On the other hand, you should be looking out for ‘full grain leather’.
The term ‘leather’ is often used extremely loosely, and you may be tricked into purchasing faux leather. Even if it states on the label that it’s made from leather, it could still be made from man-made products. Always inspect the leather closely if you have any doubts. Faux leather tends to have a harder surface, is less comfortable to wear and has a peculiar odour.
It will probably outlive you
Providing you properly care for your leather over the years, it’ll most likely last you a lifetime…and beyond. So, if you’re wondering whether splashing the cash on a leather item is a worthwhile investment, the answer is a resounding ‘yes!’.