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 Ultimo Fashions UK 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 that provide good wind shielding, warmth, and fiber 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, and suede are flexible and natural fabrics that will mold 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 waistcoat will have been on a hanger in the warehouse before you receive it. 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 their life. In our opinion, you can't beat premium quality leather, and yes we are biased.
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 without it weighing down like a lead coat (unlike cowhide and buffalo hide which are fairly heavyweight). 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 color shade throughout as the leather has a soft seal finish that helps to cover natural variations and blemishes in the top skin.
Aniline Nappa is typically produced using vegetable or other soluble-based dyes which color the leather without altering the natural variations and individual characteristics within each skin. In effect, online Nappa leathers will display a subtle and lighter color tone variation which adds greater definition to create a very soft vintage-toned color finish. In addition aniline leathers also have a softer sheen finish which is less shiny than a classic sealed Nappa which has a slighter higher sheen finish. In contrast, the dyeing process for classic Nappa leather produces a uniform surface and solid block color with a top coat seal finish which conceals variations and blemishes in the skin. Hand-dyed and waxed leathers offer a layering of color 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 - subtly 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.
Nubuck is made from finely sanding and milling full grain leather, the process is expensive and produces a luxuriously soft finish. Nubuck can be described as velvet on leather, this short nap catches the light to give a very subtle dual tone effect in a matt finish. High-quality nubuck jackets and coats offer an attractive vintage look finish.
Nubuck is generally more expensive than standard Nappa leather.
Our nubuck has a gorgeous velvety soft touch finish and is a beautiful medium weight, it is definitely gorgeous to touch and wear.
Suede is derived from an interior split of leather skin. Suede has a short hair-like structure on both sides. Suede is generally cheaper than premium Nappa leather or nubuck.
Finish - short hair / fuzzy finish. Lightweight to wear.
Ultimo Fashions UK Leather Jackets only offers superior quality cowhide that delivers both a lovely thickness as well a good suppleness to ensure a high-end finish and comfortable feel.
Cow skins are used for hide leathers and typically offer a full grain texture. Cow skins are thicker and heavier than sheep leather skins. The more rigid cow hides can at times be also referred to as 'buffalo hide'.
Cowhide (buffalo hide) leathers are sought after due to their weight and thickness.
It is generally worthwhile being aware that the leather jackets and coats generally sold within the larger high street fashion chains are typically made of very thinly sliced layers of pig skins in order to achieve the maximum number of leather sections and hence garments from a single hide. Thus quality is sacrificed for higher profits.
Leather motorbike jackets are also typically made from hide leathers for extended durability, these are made of an optimum thickness to provide protection and sufficient flexibility.
Genuine sheepskin is the original and full hide with the sheared wool surface on one side and the leather skin on the other. Suede-type nubuck finishes are produced by lightly milling the underside to deliver a brushed matt texture. Sealed Nappa finishes are created through a chemical dye process that also creates a top coat layer. Sheepskin does vary in suppleness and weight considerably. The breed size of the animal will determine the weight and softness with Merino and Toscana sheep renowned for their superb lightweight and softness. which makes them super comfy wear. Lambskins are the lightest weight and softest. All sheep and lambskins are excellent insulators from cold, wind, and damp as well as the rain to a degree. The key point to remember is that whilst they naturally repel rain water at surface level they are not waterproof!