The story of leather jackets and other garments is as old as the history of Man and Woman themselves. You only have to think of Raquel Welch in ‘1 Million Years BC’ to know that. Like the inventor of the wheel or the brave soul who ate the first oyster, the guy who came up with the idea of skinning an animal and wearing the coat, is still identity unknown. But modern man and fashion designers in particular owe a big debt of gratitude to him or her.
In truth you can tell that leather clothing was an invention born to the mother of necessity. Hunter gatherers, used whatever beast was best adapted to weather conditions to clad themselves in their skin. So it was, that the resources for leather were various; antelope, bucks, sheep, cattle, goat etc. You name it, somebody has skinned it, treated it and put it on, in an effort to keep warm, keep whole and to attract the opposite sex.
All through the ages people developed leather for these basic purposes. ‘Boiled leather’ is the favoured garb of ‘wildlings’ and impecunious knights in George R.R. Martin’s, ‘Game of Thrones’. This is a fantastic story set in a medieval cultural time, but the use of leather as flexible armour is an historical fact.
You must fast forward to the early years of the last century to find the origins of the fashion garments we now know as the basic must-have piece in any fashion conscious person’s wardrobe. ‘Flying jackets’ were an essential part of the equipment for those early aviators, and with good reason. There was nothing better than leather, for keeping warm, and being protected, when flying at cold and windy heights in an open cockpit biplane.
World war II saw huge technological advancement in both planes and ‘bomber jackets’. Fur lining being the main feature to give extra insulation (on the jackets not the planes). This style has been a mainstay of fashion, promoted regularly by Hollywood, ever since. The processing of animal skins is not the normal subject of Hollywood movies but the final look could not be achieved without significant advances in leather processing technology.
The basics always remain the same however; step 1 is the skinning of course. Step 2 is some form of preservation to the point of tanning. (Leather products were originally a byproduct of meat production and a desire to use the whole animal of course). Preservation is achieved by cold storage or curing with brine or salt.
Step 3, tanning, is all about making the hides softer and permanently preserving them, which also toughens them to the highly durable standards consumers demand. Tanning is the general name given to several complex chemical treatments. Step 4, is tailoring the basic hides to meet customer requirements. Remember leather is used in everything from car seats to shoes and not just those sexy fly-boy jackets modelled by Marlon Brando and Steve McQueen.
So good, does leather look that even people who cannot tolerate the thought of wearing the processed remains of animals, take on the look with ‘faux’ leather look alike jackets and clothing.
This is a guest post provided on behalf of City Leathers. You can visit their website to find great deals on high quality leather goods that will last you for life.