Leather Definition: Definitions for the Clothing & fabric Industry

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Leather is a material created through the tanning of hides, pelts and skins of animals. Leather was a very important clothing material, and its other uses were legion. Together with wood, leather formed the basis of much ancient technology. Leather with the fur still attached is simply called fur.

Leather is decorated by leather carving, leather stamping, leather embossing, pyrography, beading, dying of leather or painting on leather.

Today, most leather is made of cow hides, but many exceptions exist. Lamb and deer skin are used for soft leather in more expensive apparels. The leather made from some more exotic skins has during different times in history been considered very beautiful. For this reason certain snakes and crocodiles have been hunted to near extinction.

In the 1990s, farming of ostriches and emus for their meat became popular. As a side product, ostrich leather became a fad for a while. Ostrich leather has a characteristic "goose bump" look because of the large follicles from which the feathers grew.

In Thailand, sting ray leather is used in wallets and belts in the same way as regular cow leather. Sting ray leather is as tough and durable as hard plastic, even a metal file cannot leave a scratch. The leather is often dyed black and covered with tiny round bumps in the natural pattern of the back ridge of an animal. These bumps are then usually dyed white to highlight the decoration.

Leather fetishism is the name popularly used to describe a fetishistic attraction to people wearing leather, or in certain cases, to the garments themselves.

A number of rock groups, particularly Heavy Metal groups such as the Scorpions and Judas Priest are known for wearing leather clothing.

Ethical vegetarians and vegans avoid the use of leather for moral reasons.

Patent Leather

Suede Definition

Buckskin / Buckskins - clothes

Shearling Definition

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Leather Jackets

fabric Definition

Down Definition

Nylon Definition

Footwear Definition

Apparel Definition

Learn more about fabric.

Learn about knit fabrics.

Learn about woven fabrics.

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