As one of the oldest garment materials, leather has left an indelible mark on the fashion world. Its durable and versatile texture means that it can offer a coarse or supple feel while retaining its wear resistance and flexibility.
Though it’s been said that leather improves with age, that’s only true if it’s well cared for. If you want to enjoy your leather goods to their fullest, read on to learn how to care for them and why genuine leather will always outperform its synthetic counterpart.
The Advantages of Real Leather
There are a few reasons why leather has been a favorite of musical and style icons over the decades, and those reasons have as much to do with leather’s physical qualities as with fashion. Below are several aspects that make leather goods from El Gato Montes a great buy.
Like most other natural materials, leather holds up to ordinary wear and tear. It’s very durable, which means that a well-made leather garment can last for decades. Leather clothing is an investment, and it’s best to choose timeless looks rather than those that will quickly become dated. Compared to faux leather (which is sometimes referred to as vegan leather or pleather), a genuine leather garment can last two or three times as long.
Unlike materials such as canvas or suede, which can only be worn in certain conditions, leather outerwear and footwear are versatile enough to work for many occasions. From perforated summer designs to fleece-lined coats, it’s possible to find leather for every season. When you think of how leather is used in everything from fashion to furniture, it’s easy to see how versatility equates with quality.
A Unique Personality
Whether you’re going for a powerful or seductive look, leather can take you there. From the tight pants worn by famous musicians to luxurious coats, leather’s against-the-grain character allows its wearer to create their own style.
Wear and Time
The unique look of well-aged leather gives it its unmistakable personality. Every mark and every scratch tells a story, and your leather garments will quickly become a part of your personal history. While faux leather may fade over the years, vegetable- or natural-tanned leather will darken as it is exposed to UV rays, dirt, oils, and other factors.
Genuine and Vegan Leather: Which is Better?
The benefits of animal hides were first discovered thousands of years ago when mankind used leather to build shelters and make clothing. Today, leather isn’t crucial to our survival as a species, but it’s still highly sought after because of its aesthetics, durability, and insulating properties. Man-made leather alternatives have become popular over the past few years, but most of these materials aren’t as durable as the real thing.
What is Faux Leather Made Of?
If you’re wondering how leather could be vegan-friendly, here’s the simple answer. Pleather (plastic leather), faux leather, and vegan leather are terms that are used interchangeably in reference to man-made materials that contain no animal byproducts. Faux leather is typically made from PVC, polyurethane, and composite microfibers. Bonded, patent, and suede leather aren’t vegan, but faux leather is available in these finishes.
Is Man-Made Leather Safer Than the Real Thing?
Although faux leather positively affects animal welfare, it still poses a risk to humans—not just because of the way it’s made, but because it creates non-biodegradable waste.
Though newer materials are easier on the environment, they’re not very common in the textile industry. Vegan alternatives aren’t as durable as natural leather, and in most cases, they’re of lower quality as well.
Telling the Difference Between Genuine and Man-Made Leather
Because the leather has such distinctive qualities, knowing these aspects will help you identify it and make informed purchase decisions. While the term leather is often used to denote man-made and natural materials, genuine leather is a phrase used to distinguish animal-derived leather from other types.
You’ll often find this term on wallets, watch bands, and garments, and this is the easiest way to tell the difference between real and fake leather. Other indicators include:
· The way the surface looks. Real leather has fine lines and pores, while faux leather is smooth and glossy.
· The aroma. Authentic leather has a distinct smell, while vegan leather has a chemical aroma.
· The back. Real leather has a rough underside, while faux leather typically has a woven backing.
Though man-made alternatives are made to look and sometimes feel like leather, there’s no substitute for the real deal. Count on the experts at El Gato Montes for the highest quality leather goods. View our selection online or call us today to find out how we can outfit you with stylish, long-lasting, and great-looking leather items.
Caring for Real Leather: Tips From the Pros
By following a few basic care tips, you can keep your leather goods looking great for years to come. To learn how to care for your leather garments, be sure to carefully read the instructions found on the label. In the sections below, we’ll offer some simple leather care tips.
Clean Items Regularly
Keep leather garments and holsters in good shape by cleaning and moisturizing them regularly to minimize the risk of cracking. Although some faux leather items can safely be machine washed, it’s best to use special soaps and wash real leather items by hand, especially if it’s embellished or dyed. When you buy leather goods from us, we’ll show you how to care for them and help them last for years.
Storing Leather Garments and Items
Leather is organic, which means it needs air to prevent deterioration. Store leather goods in breathable bags and keep the storage area’s humidity constant. Because it is porous, leather absorbs moisture, which can cause serious damage if it is left untreated. If your leather holster or jacket gets wet, air-dry it for a day before storing it.
Keep garments away from heat to minimize drying and premature aging and use padded hangers to hold dry leather garments. Store your leather away from light sources, as exposure to natural light leads to fading, cracking, and drying.
Simple Leather Care
The best way to clean and maintain your leather goods is to clean them with a slightly damp cloth after every use. For items made of grain leather, a soft brush will work well. While it’s best to care for leather by hand, some people wonder whether certain garments can be machine washed.
There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, and we recommend reading your garment’s care label for maintenance instructions. Washing leather shoes, clothing, and accessories may lead to cracking, fraying, and other damage. Leather goods are investment pieces and caring for them properly will help you protect that investment.
Conditioning Leather Goods
Other than cleaning, there are a few more ways to revitalize and maintain leather garments and accessories. Leather’s natural oils give it a unique shine, which may fade after prolonged storage. A quality leather conditioner, however, will refresh a piece’s looks and restore its attractive finish.
When treating leather goods, once-a-month conditioning will prolong their life by preventing premature stiffness and deterioration. It’s an easy way to preserve the look and feel of natural leather!
Giving Leather a Unique Patina
Just like metal, wood, or canvas, leather acquires a wonderful patina as it is used and enjoyed. Vegetable-tanned and raw leather changes its appearance with time, unlike dyed leather, which remains largely unaffected because it has been treated to resist external factors.
To give your jacket, holster, wallet, or shoes a great patina, simply use it or wear it. To accelerate the aging process, leave them in the sun, touch them frequently, or mist them with water occasionally. Another easy way to patina leather is to apply an oil or conditioner that darkens it immediately.
Though the look of distressed leather is an appealing one, it’s important to create that look without damaging the item beyond repair. To easily and safely distress leather, be sure to avoid rougher methods such as wire brushes, sandpaper, and fire drying. If you want to change the look of your leather goods, we suggest soaking them in water before squeezing the parts that need a textured look.
Then, dry the item at a moderate temperature. Alternatively, you can apply to rubbing alcohol, gently working it into the leather before kneading it to give it a wrinkled texture. We suggest doing a preliminary patch test, as different types of leather may react in unique ways.
One of the oldest materials in the world, the classic appeal, and durability of leather make it a great choice for value- and fashion-conscious buyers. Whether you’re searching for a leather jacket to pass down as an heirloom, or a holster for your self-defense gear, we’ve got you covered.
By choosing genuine leather over man-made alternatives, and by learning how to care for your leather goods properly, you’re guaranteed to enjoy quality, comfort, and style for years into the future.