THE MOST SUSTAINABLE CLOTHES ARE THOSE THAT LAST.

2nd Sep 2022

Leather holds a special position in the idea of avant-garde dressing since it is a fundamental material that connects man to nature. Because of its adaptable and robust organic texture, it may be moulded to have a supple or rough feel while still remaining flexible and resistant to wear. Although leather is said to improve with age, this is only true if it is given the proper care. A leather jacket will gradually reveal its classic qualities with proper care over many years. It might even turn into an heirloom that is passed down through the generations. Read on to learn how to take care of your leather products, the benefits of doing so, and how to extend and improve the life of your leather clothing.

WHICH ARE THE BENEFITS OF ACTUAL LEATHER?

Over the years, leather has gained popularity among fashion and music icons for a number of reasons, many of which have more to do with fashion than the actual characteristics of leather. Let's now analyse some of the main practical considerations that make leather one of the most treasured materials in the world, as we've previously looked at the cultural effect of leather in a previous post.

LONGEVITY

Leather is resilient to normal wear and tear, just like many other natural fibres and materials. You can wear the same piece of leather clothing for years, if not decades, as it is one of the most durable materials available. Given that leather clothing is an investment, it is preferable to look for classic design elements and muted hues as opposed to purchasing an item that is currently in style but will soon become outmoded. Consider that the useful life of a real leather garment can be up to twice or even three times longer than that of faux leather, also known as pleather or vegan leather, when deciding between natural and man-made leather.

VERSATILITY

Leather footwear and outerwear are adaptable and lend themselves to numerous styles and events, unlike other materials like suede or canvas, which can only be worn in specific weather conditions. Leather shoes can be worn in the sun or the rain and for professional or informal events. You can find leather jacket styles appropriate for every season, from shearling-lined bombers and jackets to perforated designs that are excellent for the summer. Most individuals only ever need one leather jacket in their closet since sometimes one piece may transport you from spring to the beginning of winter. Numerous high-quality items that we use every day, such leather wallets, belts, and purses, are made from animal hides. When you think You can see that adaptability is actually a sign of the material's excellence given its numerous uses in automotive and household furnishings.

PERSONALITY

Leather is the way to go if you want to project a strong, aloof, or even sensual vibe. Leather occupies a distinct place among fashion clothes because of its sometimes described as "male" appeal, and wearers with a strong sense of personal style frequently choose it. There are many avant-garde leather clothing styles available, ranging from the zippered leather pants worn by music icons to luxurious leather dresses, deconstructed leather jackets, or Matrix-style leather coats. These goods provide the wearer an anti-trendy personality and aid in establishing a personal power look.

WEAR AND TIME

Another feature that adds to aged leather's charm is its distinct appearance. Every scuff and trace left by the passage of time tells a tactile tale and imbues your unique history into the organic surface. The way leather is handled completely determines how it ages, but when you take good care of it, its appearance will improve over time. While there are many things you can do to keep the garment's original appearance, some natural processes cannot be stopped. In addition to certain leather darkening over time, it can also become lighter in some situations, such as prolonged exposure to sunlight or bright lights. in general Over time, coloured leather is prone to gradually becoming lighter and losing some of its colour. Natural or vegetable-tanned leather, on the other hand, will darken as it comes into contact with outside elements (such skin oils, dirt, UV exposure, etc.) and develop a priceless patina.

LEATHER: REAL (NATURAL) VS. VEGAN (ARTIFICIAL)

When man first started using primitive kinds of leather to produce clothing and upgrade his shelter more than 3,000 years ago, the advantages of employing animal hides were first understood. Even if leather no longer plays a crucial function in maintaining human existence in the modern world, it is still one of the most in-demand materials because of its appealing characteristics, effective insulation, and durability. In recent years, several synthetic materials that resemble leather have proliferated, especially because they are less expensive to produce. However, the majority of these synthetic materials don't last as long as genuine leather and are abandoned more quickly, which adds to the growth of textile waste.

WHAT IS "VEGAN LEATHER" AND WHAT ARE THE COMPOSITES?

Here's a brief explanation on how leather can be vegan if you've ever wondered how that's possible: When referring to man-made leather that doesn't contain any animal products, the terms vegan leather, faux leather, and pleather (plastic leather) are sometimes used interchangeably. According to eco-luxury fashion magazine Eluxe, the majority of faux leather was created using petroleum-based materials including PVC (polyvinyl chloride), PU (polyurethane), and textile-polymer composite microfibres before it was ever known to be "vegan." Although suede or patent finishes can be found on some faux leather substitutes, suede, bonded, and patent leather are not by definition vegan leathers.

VEGAN LEATHER: IS IT SAFE?

Vegan leather improves animal welfare, but it can still pose a risk to people due to the way it is produced and the fact that it is a source of non-biodegradable plastic-based waste. Although more recent cork and kelp-based materials are less harmful to the environment, they are much less common in the fashion business. In general, the quality of synthetic leathers is inferior to that of genuine leather, and vegan leather is less resilient than its natural equivalent. Vegan leather, on the other hand, is waterproof since it is created with a plastic layer. Putting a droplet of water on a particular sort of leather can help you establish whether it's genuine because real leather absorbs water.

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS TO DETERMINE IF SOMETHING IS REAL LEATHER?

Knowing some of the features of leather will help you identify it quickly and make informed purchasing decisions because leather is such a distinctive material. The word "genuine leather" serves to distinguish leather of animal origin from all other sorts, even though the term "leather" can commonly refer to any kind of leather-like substance, whether natural or man-made. The fastest way to determine whether your leather is real or fake is to look for this marking on the bottom of belts, watch bands, wallets, and other items that have labels on them.

Other clues that can assist in determining if leather is real or fake include:

  • When compared to artificial leather, which is far more shiny and lacks apparent pores, leather's surface has a porous appearance and fine lines;
  • Real leather has a unique organic fragrance, whereas PVC or synthetic leather smells like vinyl and chemicals;
  • Genuine leather has a rough suede-like underside on the back; imitation leather is processed to look simple and occasionally has apparent seams.

PRODUCTION OF LEATHER GARMENTS AND SUSTAINABILITY

When it comes to animal welfare, vegan leather is without a doubt the best option, however it has been claimed that its environmental impact is greater than that of natural leather. Genuine leather clothing does not represent an environmental issue after its useful life, unlike synthetic, petroleum-based leathers that can degrade into toxic waste. In addition, leather is durable and can be used for a longer period of time, which reduces consumption and promotes a more conscientious approach. Even yet, there are drawbacks to the production of leather. The tanning procedure, through which the hide is softened and preserved from degradation, may be the most environmentally harmful aspect of leather production. Most tanneries employ this method because it's the least expensive and most effective. chromium, a chemical that is hazardous to the environment, is used in this procedure. But as consumer awareness increases, so does the need for a more morally sound product. Many businesses are reverting to conventional techniques of leather production, like vegetable tanning, in response to this rising demand. Companies in the chemical industry are also contributing to innovation by creating new enzymes, water-based dyes, and other substances that can replace surfactants, use less water, and generally result in a more sustainable leather manufacturing process.

SUSTAINABLE LEATHER: WHAT KIND?

To produce an ethical product, sustainability issues must be addressed beginning with the leather supply chain. As a result, mitigating the environmental impact of the leather business depends greatly on the traceability of hides. Only leather that is simply a byproduct of the meat industry and that is derived from ethically raised animals qualifies as sustainable. Since many parties are involved in the production of a sustainable leather jacket, Barbara I Gongini works hard to only partner with suppliers who adhere to local and EU laws on the use of chemicals. We are aware of our responsibility to make sure that All of our suppliers follow ethical business practises, and we visit them at least once a year to ensure that we can cooperate to produce a sustainable product.

Additionally, we want to minimise waste during the manufacturing process, so all leather scraps are recycled and given new life. We take it upon ourselves to ensure that leather is not wasted because it is a valuable resource that must be used carefully.

HOW TO TAKE CARE OF LEATHER

By simply adhering to a few crucial care guidelines, you can keep your leather apparel looking wonderful for as long as possible. Make sure to read the washing directions on the label of your jacket to learn how to take the best possible care of your leather jacket.

LIFE PRINCIPLES FOR LEATHER

By routinely cleaning them and hydrating them to stop cracking, you can keep your leather items in the finest possible condition. Even though certain (pleather) clothing may be washable in a machine, it's best to use a leather-specific soap and hand-clean leather clothing, especially if the item has been coloured or contains delicate decorations.

Leather responds to the chemical cleaning agents in soap just like any other type of natural skin. Mild cleaners are good for routine cleaning, unless you are dealing with a difficult stain. pH-balanced or pH-matched leather care products work best.

HOW TO STORE LEATHER BEST

Leather needs to breathe because it is an organic substance to keep from deteriorating. Avoid using plastic while storing leather products and keep the humidity at a steady level. Leather will absorb too much moisture because it is a porous material, which could harm it. If your leather shoes or pants get wet, let them air out for at least a day before storing them. Then, let them dry flat. To avoid overdrying of the interior oils and early ageing, never force the drying process and keep clothing away from heat sources. To preserve the natural curve of the shoulder line, put dry leather jackets on padded hangers. Keep leather away from direct light sources to prevent yellowing. while storage. While the colour of leather can naturally deteriorate with time, sunlight accelerates this process and can also cause drying and even cracking.

Cleaning leather with care

Cleaning leather with a moist cloth after each usage is the best way to maintain it and remove dust and other dirt particles. For the greatest results, use a light brush on grain leather. Although leather is best cared for by hand, some people really want to know if leather jackets can be washed. We suggest consulting the care label on your leather jacket to find out exactly how to wash it because there are many conflicting opinions on the subject. We believe it is preferable to avoid machine washing any leather apparel, accessories, or footwear. When a leather jacket is washed, it may turn out frayed, cracked, or even beaten. The mild cycle is sometimes advised, but it's not always a good idea. It is preferable to be safe than sorry if this is an investment piece. Take it to a professional cleaner who can manage the problem, or better yet, clean it personally with a leather soap and moisturise with balsam.

CONDITIONING YOUR LEATHER: MAINTENANCE

A leather garment can be revived in addition to cleaning. Leather has a unique shine that is provided by the natural oils it contains; nevertheless, this shine can occasionally deteriorate with extended storage. Leather conditioners help revive a garment's appearance by restoring this lovely gloss. If there is one thing you should keep in mind when caring for a leather jacket, it is that using a leather conditioner once a month can significantly extend the life of the item by preventing deterioration and stiffening.

TIPS FOR DIY LEATHER CARE

There are some easy things you may do at home to change the appearance of your leather goods. Take a look at these suggestions for enhancing leather's appearance while wearing it out.

APPRAISAL OF LEATHER

Leather acquires a lovely patina as you use it, just like wood, canvas that has been waxed, or metal. Leather that is unfinished or vegetable-tanned undergoes the most significant alterations over time. However, because dyed leather has been treated and protected from outside influences, the appearance will age more slowly.

Wearing your leather shoes, jacket, wallet, or other accessories will cause them to develop a patina. You can expose your clothing to the sun, occasionally spritz it with water, and touch it as much as you can to hasten the ageing process. A different method is to rub on a leather conditioner or oil, which can instantly brown it.

LEATHER DISTRESSING TECHNIQUES

Although the aesthetic of faded leather can be highly alluring, you want to create it without causing any harm to the garment. Avoid using harsh techniques, such as sandpaper, wire brushes, or drying it by a fire, when doing this. If you want to change the appearance of your leather jacket, we advise soaking it in water, applying pressure to the areas that need to look more textured, and allowing it to air dry slowly at room temperature. To get the desired wrinkled texture, you can also use rubbing alcohol and gradually work it into the leather prior to kneading it. Since different leathers will behave differently, always perform a patch test first.

Leather is a primal material by nature, and the wearability and classic appeal make it perfect for the conscious wearer. Choosing leather over imitation will ensure their lifespan and raise the level of the design, whether you're searching for a jacket to adore for years to come or a pair of pants to build a power look.