Leather has existed for quite a long time, about 5,000 years. It’s resilient, versatile and if cared for land can persist for a lifetime. If you’re looking for a specific feel or look, the type you select will be extremely important.
Leather is an agricultural bi-product of the food market. Leather quality can be pre-determined by genetics and from the food supply. The excellent thing about leather is that every piece is unique, no two pieces are identical (since it’s a pure product) and, obviously, it can’t be duplicated.
Leather can usually fall into one of three classes:
- Aniline – (Also called Natural, Pure, Naked or Unprotected) these leathers are coloured with translucent dye stuff, helping you to see the true surface grain and markings. This category of leather has little or no protective treatments applied to them. Commonly a spray with a wax finish is sprayed on providing them a brief term water repellance. For care and maintenance purposes you will need to know whether the surface has been brushed (feels like velvet) or not. That is where it become hard to differentiate between Nubuck and Aniline leather.
Some ways that you can identify Aniline are:
A. Gently scrape the surface to find out if it leaves a lighter shade scratch mark. If it scratches to a lighter shade, it’s Aniline. Nubuck will also do the same.
B. Wet your finger and gently rub it in the leather to find out if it darkens. With Aniline it should darken lightly but dry invisibly.
- Semi-Aniline – (Also called Finished, Semi-Aniline, Everyday, Pigmented or Painted) those leathers have combined the best aspects of a natural product and have used tannery technologies to make a product more uniform in appearance and colour. Protected leathers are the most common leathers and bought by consumers over the other categories, due to their resilience. With this kind of leather a finish is applied to the surface which makes the leather more resilient to the rigors of heavy use, even though the pigments and finish that’s applied to protect the leather will also influence the softness. The more that is necessary to be implemented the less tender the leather will be. Some ways that you can identify Semi-Aniline leather are:
A. Gently scrape the surface to find out if it leaves a lighter shade scratch mark. If it doesn’t leave a milder scratch mark (the colour is still the same) then that has a protective finish on the leather.
B. Use soft cleanser and clean the leather. The cleaner should keep on top of the end and shouldn’t darken the leather.
C. With protected leather that the surface should have some kind of sheen to it.
- Nubuck – (Also called Distressed, Bomber or Suede) those leathers are now Aniline leathers. The surface on this sort of leather was brushed leaving the texture very similar to a velvet on leather. This sort of leather is often confused with Suede. Suede is the flesh side of a sheet of leather and Nubuck comes from an impact that’s done to the grain side, making this leather exceptionally soft. The cleaning makes the leather much more absorbent than the Aniline leathers. Nubuck and Aniline are extremely tough to distinguish from one another. The most difficult to identify are the ones that are from the distressed leathers class or the leathers which have a waxed finish implemented. Nubuck leathers can have an unlimited range of embossed patterns and colour applied to them and may also reflect the natural leather grain, thus making Nubuck very common in the fashion world. Some ways that you can identify Nubuck are:
a. The surface texture should feel quite much like velvet. When you run your hands across the surface it must leave shading traces exactly like when a carpet is vacuumed in one direction and then in another. If the leather surface leaves this shading it’s Nubuck.
B. Having a wet finger rub it gently on the surface, if the surface dries and dries into a darker shade, it’s Nubuck.
c. If the leather has a waxed surface onto it, you can rub a place of the leather is a sponge many times, removing the wax and see if it matches the standards of a or b above.
The maintenance of your leather product is quite important in maintaining it in a brand new condition. The most important thing to do is to follow the manufacturers care instructions. Some other things that you can do are:
- If your leathers becomes wet, allow it dry at room temperature.
- Gently blot liquid stains with a clean cloth.
- It’s an excellent idea to use a repellent product to condition your leather item.
- Store your leather jacket or coat on a broad wooden, plastic or padded hanger to help maintain the shape.
- Do not keep your leather in a hot (like an attic) or moist (like a basement ) area.
- If you’ll be covering your leather when you’re storing itcover it with a breathable fabric (such as cotton sheets), don’t cover with plastic. The plastic will cause excessive drying.
- Avoid exposing your leather to direct sunlight for extended amounts of time.