The process of creating leather starts at a leather tannery. Tanning refers to the process of turning an animal hide into leather and prevents the decomposition of the skins. The leather hide can also be colored during this process. Wholesale leather hides are sold to fashion houses, motorcycle clothing manufacturers, and furniture makers alike, however, the types of leather used for these different purposes will vary. For example, upholstery leather used for furniture is much softer than the leather used to create motorcycle jackets. It’s not just the natural look and feels that give the leather the majority of its appeal, but also its durability, strength, and versatility. Tougher than most fabrics, leather can be seen as an investment in style for fashion lovers, and as an investment in health and safety for motorcycle riders.
Leather jackets were developed as protective wear for both recreational and professional motorcycle riders. Chosen for both their resilience and flexibility, leather motorcycle jackets serve as protection for the riders’ skin in the event of an accident. They are well fitted to the individual rider, ensuring enough room to move and control the motorcycle. They are also tight enough to provide the rider with the confidence that they are well protected in the areas the leather covers. For professional riders, their motorcycle jackets are often brightly colored for easy identification and visibility. Recreational riders will often choose a more conservative black leather jacket. The leather used in these jackets is much tougher than the leather used in fashion pieces. Such is the reliability of leather that some governments have even mandated the use of leather clothing for the protection of recreational riders.
In relation to clothing, the use of leather in the manufacturing of jackets is steeped in history. Initially, leather became widely used in a military setting where they were commonly referred to as ‘bomber’ jackets. In the twentieth century, the ‘bomber’ jacket lost its military significance, gaining a cult-like status with civilians as a fashion item. Worn by stars of cinema, television and music only served to cement the leather jacket as a popular fashion icon that has stood the test of time.
There is a world of choice available when choosing a leather jacket. These include types of leather, color, and style. Leather jackets featuring embellishments promote individual fashion sense and flair. Zippers, buckles, and rivets are also features chosen by the wearer based on personal preference. These are generally stainless steel or silver and can complement the jacket as a whole. More recently vintage leather, hooded styles, and blazers have been seen as the emerging trends, but the original ‘biker’ style remains the classic favorite. Black and brown are the most traditional colors chosen, however bold and vibrant colors are increasing in popularity amongst daring fashionistas.
Proper leather care is essential in maintaining leather hide to a high standard. Leather should be stored in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. Specialized cleaning products can be used, although a damp sponge will often be enough to lift surface dirt from smooth leather. Correct leather care will ensure that whatever type of leather product you invest in, will be well looked after and provide years and years of use.