A simple synonym for leather – fantastic! Leather is durable, its flexible, its practical and it looks absolutely gorgeous. Of course it can cost a pretty penny so it’s very important to know how to care for leather. It is also very important to know what kind of leather one is purchasing and its benefits.
Technically leather is made from animal skin – mainly cattle skin. The animal hide then goes through a tanning process which transforms hides and skins into leather. Depending on the ingredients used in the tanning process as well as the subtle variations, we get a variety of leathers.
Without getting too much into detail about the creation of the leather, below are the most frequent ones used for fashion accessories and apparel:
Lambskin leather is pliable and soft leather commonly used for the creation of pants, jackets and other fashion clothing. Lambskin leather can be found in shearling and smooth and varieties of which the latter is more popular thanks to its soft and supple texture. Easily a popular choice, the challenge lies in the fact that lambskin requires a lot of attention and can easily scuff, tear or scratch.
Cowhide leather is what is used to make almost 99% of all leather goods like bags, watches and leather jackets sold in the States. Cowhide leather, tanned by the natural process, is softer and normally used for handbags and luggage. Cowhide is strong and durable, but on the downside it may be course or grainy.
Water Buffalo Leather:
Water buffalo leather is very strong and thick and among other things is used to make motorcycle helmets and shoes. Both cowhide and water buffalo leather have pretty much the same thickness and durability despite years of myths and debates on which is better and stronger!
Sheepskin leather is basically more mature lambskin; however it is more durable, thicker and often more expensive.
The cheapest and probably the most stylish type of leather – this one has an almost ‘velvety’ feel to it. It looks great and has a napped or bushed finish. Extremely stylish, it’s not something that would be recommended for strength and protection.