Too Good To Lose: Why Leather Always Stays In Style
Leather really is a beautiful material. That’s probably not a surprising thing to hear from a leatherworking blog, but we feel it bears repeating. Leather is warm, stylish, and incredibly long-lasting. Furthermore, no matter how the winds of fashion are blowing, it never seems to go out of style.
In other words: it’s timeless.
But what makes leather such a beloved material to work with? And why are we still using it for so many purposes today?
An Ancient Skill
For as long as humans have been around we’ve sought to use leather for all kinds of purposes. From clothes to bags, leather is both functional and practical. Warm, waterproof, and incredibly long-lasting, it’s no exaggeration to say that the process of tanning was one of the most important technological developments early humans ever made. Furthermore, as a byproduct of livestock farming, it fits perfectly into chains of production.
All in all, throughout the course of human history, there have been few materials that were so useful whilst also being comparatively easy to acquire. Leather really is a gift from nature that keeps on giving.
Over time, we’ve come to associate leather with a variety of historical periods. From the boiled leather of medieval soldiers to the brass and leather decor of the Victorian Era, animal hide has remained useful throughout the centuries in one way or another.
A Classic Look
New fashion doesn’t just spring up out of nowhere, and if you want to understand modern fashion then it’s good to understand how it’s informed by its roots. Put simply, a hundred years ago leather was still both a practical necessity and a sign of quality. If you wanted a good pair of boots then the quality of the leather was the most important signifier.
These days, although we have plenty of cheap, functional fabrics and textiles to use as an alternative to animal hides, that association between real leather and quality workmanship has never gone away. It’s evolved into an almost classical aesthetic, reminding us of a time when our notion of quality was closely associated with the outdoors, and with the farming of livestock.
A Modern Style
These days, our uses of leather have exploded out into all kinds of markets. From 1950s-style black greaser jackets to striking catwalk coats, modern fashion is as in love with leather as it has ever been. Meanwhile, the brown leather jackets and tool belts of old Americana are still as prevalent as ever.
So why is leather still so popular?
Well, we think it’s down to three reasons. The first is that it's incredibly useful, the second is that it reminds us of the past, and the third is - as we said right at the beginning - leather really is a beautiful material. Textured or smooth, in a variety of gorgeously dyed colors, real leather looks amazing. It always has done and it always will do.
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