leather a-z

An A-Z glossary of all things leather

Black Leather Jacket

A symbol of rebel and outlaw; the choice apparel of biker gangs.

Blouson Noir

A hoodlum. Literally translates to "black jacket". Don't worry, you don't need to be a delinquent in order to wear a leather jacket, it's just that... well that's just the way it seemed for a while.

Boiled Leather

Leather which has been soaked in boiling wax.

Bomber Jacket

The classic symbol of the hero-pilot. The bomber jacket was specifically designed for American pilots in 1934, emphasizing warmth and flexibility. Thick sheepskin lining and ribbing at the wrist and waist are meant to protect the wearer from cold wind. At the same time, by adopting a shorter cut than earlier, full-length coats, the bomber jacket was also better suited to the tight quarters inside airplane cockpits.

Bubble Leather

Also known as “crispy” leather, bubble leather has a mottled, textured feel.

Cactus Leather

A variety of "vegan leather" which is typically made from the opuntia (prickly pear) cactus. It is favored over other vegan leathers which are typically made from petroleum products.

Chamois Leather 

A type of leather known for its softness and flexibility. Originally made from the Chamois goat-antelope found in mountainous Europe, it is now commonly made from lambskin.

Currying

A process in leather production following tanning. Currying gives leather an even thickness and color.

Cycle Queen

The first popular motorcycle jacket designed specifically for women. Popularized by Elvis Presley, this classic Harley Davidson design was engineered to maximize flexibility for the female motorcycle rider.

Extended Sizes

After years of perfecting our patterns, we’ve developed extended sizes for our classic leather jackets. We think everyone looks good in a leather jacket and we’re committed to making them fit.

Harley-Davidson

"The great american freedom machine", unveiled in 1903. Leather armor is practically a requirement when riding one of these bad boys.

Hide

A panel of skin from one of many animals that have historically been used to make leather. A hide consists of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous tissue The skin of an animal, typically when tanned or dressed.

Leather

Synonymous with freedom and adventure. Used in garments, housing, weaponry, saddlery, furniture, ritual finery, tools, musical instruments, book binding. It's the reason you're here.

Leather Leggings

Originally popularized by motorcycle riders, leather leggings provided effective protection from splashing water and oil leaks. Soft, stretch leather makes these form-fitting bottoms pretty comfortable for wearing around the house, too. No Harley required.

Leather Pants

You probably recognize them on Peter Fonda in Easy Rider.

Leather Jacket

A cult item in the contemporary western wardrobe. The reason you're here.

Leather Scent

In modern times, the notion of a “leather” scent has emerged. The modern notion of ‘leather scent’ typically includes notes of smoke, tobacco, and resin. Leather scent can be found in candles, incense, and perfumes. The origin of leather scent is somewhat arbitrary --  leather has historically been perfumed by the products used in the tanning process. Russian leather was known for its woody smells from the bark used to curry it while the use of kumquat in ancient Chinese tanneries produced a citrus smelling leather. 

Moto Jacket

A style of leather jacket designed to protect a motorcycle rider from the elements. The classic moto jacket features a belt, two pockets, and a fitted cut to minimize wind resistance at high speeds.

You may recognize the moto jacket on Marlon Brando in The Wild One or on James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause.

Raw hides

Untreated leather skins.

Repoussé

A classic method for decorating leather that produces a raised effect and slightly 3D appearance. The affect is achieved by working both sides of the leather to produced a raised image.

Second Skin

A description for leather apparel. Several factors contribute to this nickname: leather’s orign as animal hides;  the protective nature of leather; the longevity of leather garments; the bond between wearer and garment.

Shagreen

Skate fish skin which was used as a popular leather casing in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Tanning

A process by which prepared hides are treated and turned into leather. It typically entails soaking, graining, liming, fleshing, and deliming. (p. 39)

Tannery

A site where animal hides are turned into refined leathers (p6). Tanned hides commonly come from sheep, cattle, deer, reptiles, marine mammals, fish, and birds. While leather tanning has been practiced for millennia, evolution in tanning technology has transformed leather from a rough protective material to one whose softness matches the finest fabrics.

Taw

To make hide into leather without the use of tannins

Vegan leather

Leather made from non-animal sources. While most "vegan leather" products are made from vinyl or plastics, they may also be constructed from natural vegan sources like cactus. See cactus leather.

Vegetable tanned leather

Leather which has been tanned using vegetable tannins as opposed to mineral products. Vegetable tannins are favored for thick, tough leather.

Zipper

Can you imagine what life was like before zippers? So many snaps and ties. Like leather, zippers are reliable and long-lasting. This "great American fastener" caught the eye of French designer  Emile-Maurice Hermés when he was visiting the US in the 1920s. Soon after, Hermés became the first to apply this technology to fine leather garments.