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Leather And Sheepskin Guide

Buying a leather jacket or coat is not something that most of us do everyday, in addition there are some of us that have never owned one, so we thought it would be useful to provide a brief overview on the main leather types used in the general crafting of men's and women's leather jackets and coats as well as the most popular finishes.

At UK LJ our range is crafted from premium and superior sheep and lamb nappas and nubucks in the main as these are the best quality and offer supreme comfort, softness and suppleness. In addition we also do include within the range good quality cow hides as these do definitely have an attraction as they are superb for extended wear requirements and are also malleable. The leather type is clearly indicated on each garment page so that the cow hides can be identified from the nappa leathers.

Leather, suede and nubuck are natural materials which provide good wind shielding, warmth and fibre breathability as well as being very comfortable and easy to wear.

The quality is determined by the softness and the origin of skin / hide (e.g. lamb, kid, sheep, goat, pig, cow/buffalo). Lamb, kid, sheep and goat leathers are very soft and supple to the touch, as well as beautifully lightweight making them very comfortable and a joy to wear. Pig, cow/buffalo hide leathers are thicker and heavier and therefore cheaper in cost.

Leather, nubuck, suede are flexible and natural fabrics which will mould and adjust with regular wear to the body at the contact and contour points. This is the case whether the fit on the person is loose, fitted or comfort fit. Leather garments will also stretch with regular wear at snug contact points. A new leather jacket, coat or waitcoat will have been having on a hanger in the warehouse before you receive. It is therefore not uncommon for the leather to stick out from the body where there is a bit of space. The leather with wear will fall into the body with a little wear and also as it warms up from body heat. Generally leather garments all improve with wear and will give the wearer a lot of pleasure and comfort during its life. In our opinon you can't beat a premium quality leather, and yes we are bias.

Nappa leather is the highest quality and most expensive leather type. Nappa leather is defined by its beautifully lightweight structure, suppleness and softness. Nappa leather is derived from lamb and sheep skins. The main benefit of a garment crafted in nappa leather is that it can be worn all day with out it weighing down like a lead coat (unlike cow hide and buffalo hide which are fairly heavy weight). Of course if you want a jacket or coat that you can abuse then hide leather will definitely be more durable. So it is all down to what you want as an individual

The classic finish for nappa delivers a uniform and consistent colour shade throughout as the leather has a soft seal finish that helps to cover naturual variations and blemishes in the top skin.

Aniline nappa is typically produced using vegetable or other soluble based dyes which colour the leather without altering the natural variations and individual characteristics within each skin. In effect, anline nappa leathers will display a subtle and lighter colour tone variation which adds greater definition to create a very soft vintage toned colour finish. In addition aniline leathers also have a softer sheen finish which is less shinny than a classic sealed nappa which has a slighter higher sheen finish. In contrast, the dye process for classic nappa leather produces a uniform surface and solid block colour with a top coat seal finish which conceals variations and blemishes in the skin. Hand dyed and waxed leathers offer a layering of  colour shades and tones which makes each garment individual from the next.

Types of Finish:

  • Classic - this is the typical finish for soft leather and offers a very subtle natural sheen.
  • Brushed - matt finish with no sheen.
  • Crushed - subtle crushed and creased finished that has been set in through a variety of techniques.
  • Glazed - shiny glaze finish. Slightly stiffens leather.
  • Semi-Glazed - as a above but lighter glazed effect. Slightly stiffens leather.
  • Washed - subtle antiqued finish giving an added shade definition and subtle variation within the tone.
  • Burnished - the colour depth is layered by hand to deliver darkened areas to create an effect of aged character and patina without the effects of wear and tear 
  • Twisted - the leather is washed and rung in a twist to embed fashionably long vertical creases.
  • Rub off - colour has been lightly rubbed off during the dye stage.
  • Distressed - fashion worn look.