Assessing Leather Types Used in Leather Jacket Design

In leather jacket design, there are two main types of leather that are used for the high-end jackets.  The first is lambskin, and the second is cowhide.  Both materials are genuine animal skins and considered a part of the leather family, but each has distinct characteristics.  It is important to explore the differences before you go out to buy a leather jacket. Lambskin is known as the softest, thinnest, and most supple of the animal skins made into leather. It has a buttery texture and is finely grained. Lambskin is great for leather coat construction because it stretches well and tends to reshape after wearing, and is a fabric with a "memory" for its original shape. Lambskin leather also drapes well, flows, and has a good movement. It is often made into high-end leather jackets and has a classic and fashionable look.  Lambskin is often more expensive than cowhide when made into leather jackets. Another option in leather jackets is a material known as lamb touch cow or cow nappa style leather.  Like lambskin it is thin, soft and supple, and is close in look and feel to lamb leather. It has a smoother finish and finer texture than cowhide, is lightweight, and has good movement and draping ability. It is made of cow, and is used for sportier leather coats as well as skirts, pants and vests. Cowhide is very tough wearing and durable. It is also the heaviest of leathers, with noticeable texture and grain. It is mostly used for outerwear leather jackets, weekend casual wear, and biker style leather jackets. To tell if you have a quality leather jacket, no matter the material, first take a visual assessment. A very good way to tell if you are purchasing a garment of high-quality leather is to look at the seams and needle marks on your leather jacket.  If they seem to be a different color than the garment itself this could mean that the garment is dyed on the surface only - surface-dyed as opposed to aniline-dyed leather, which is dyed on both sides making the garment more finished and valuable. Surface-dyed leather is much different to aniline-dyed leather because surface-dying is like adding a coat of paint to wood.  It merely covers up the wood's natural surface and defects.  Aniline-dyed leather is like adding varnish to wood, varnish allows the woods natural beauty to shine through by penetrating the surface instead of covering it up.  The natural beauty of high-quality leather is visible through a sheer, rich aniline dye. Next, check your leather jacket for overall color and craftsmanship. While all skins, of all animal varieties, contain some natural marks, there should not be any large or unsightly blemishes on the leather jacket you are considering. A good manufacturer of leather apparel will not use leather pieces with these types of imperfections. In addition, smell the leather coat you are considering before you buy it. The garment should smell like leather, not chemicals, and should not have been treated with Azo dye, which has been proven to be toxic and cause skin reactions. Finally, feel any leather jacket before you buy it, assessing the softness of the leather.  Good quality leather should be soft, smooth, and free of any bumps. It should feel flexible, not dry, and should never be hard to bend. For your perfect, high-quality leather jackets and handbags, join us as friend on “Lusia International”

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