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 UK LJ 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 which provide good wind shielding, warmth and fibre 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, suede are flexible and natural fabrics which will mould 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 waitcoat will have been having on a hanger in the warehouse before you receive. 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 its life. In our opinon you can't beat a premium quality leather, and yes we are bias.
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 with out it weighing down like a lead coat (unlike cow hide and buffalo hide which are fairly heavy weight). 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 colour shade throughout as the leather has a soft seal finish that helps to cover naturual variations and blemishes in the top skin.
Aniline nappa is typically produced using vegetable or other soluble based dyes which colour the leather without altering the natural variations and individual characteristics within each skin. In effect, anline nappa leathers will display a subtle and lighter colour tone variation which adds greater definition to create a very soft vintage toned colour finish. In addition aniline leathers also have a softer sheen finish which is less shinny than a classic sealed nappa which has a slighter higher sheen finish. In contrast, the dye process for classic nappa leather produces a uniform surface and solid block colour with a top coat seal finish which conceals variations and blemishes in the skin. Hand dyed and waxed leathers offer a layering of colour shades and tones which makes each garment individual from the next.
Types of Finish:
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 that 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 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 a leather skin. Suede has 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.
UK Leather Jackets only offers superior quality cow hide that delivers both a lovely thickness as well a good suppleness to ensure a high end finish and comfort 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 refered to as 'buffalo hide'.
Cow hide (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.
This is milled cow hide leather to give a nubuck type finish and has a brushed matt effect. This has a soft touch finish and is thicker than nubuck, nappa leather or suede.
Our brushed leather jackets and coats are made from premium quality cow hide that has been expertly crafted to provide a garment that will fit well and also feel soft to the touch. The added advantage of brushed leather is that it has a matt finish.
A 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 lighly 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 do vary in suppleness and weight considerably. The breed size of the animal will detremin the weight and softness with Merino and Toscana sheep renown 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. Key point to remember is that whilst they naturally repel rain water at surface level they are not waterproof!
If you are looking for extra softness, suppleness and comfort wear with an extra touch of chic or glamour then you can't get better in the sheepskin category than a Toscana lambskin. The Toscana sheepskin and lambskins are characterised by their beautifully soft long hair fur, this is the exterior wool coat which gives a luxuriously deep, thick and long fur like pelt. The best quality Toscana is from a specialist breed of sheep farmed in the very panoramic and high mountain tops of the Spanish Pyrenees and so garments crafted from their pelts offer fantastic insulation and protection from the harsh and cold winter weather whilst also being very well suited to colder autumn conditions due to its super comfy light to medium weight. And of course being a natural material allows full breathability of the skin to help maintain an appropriate temperature balance. If you want a single soft and luxurious sheepskin jacket or coat that you can wear both autumn and winter then the Toscana is the most versatile for our changing weather.
There are very good leather, nubuck and suede imitation garments available and these are referred to and labelled as "faux". It is worthwhile noting that imitations generally mimic the higher quality end of genuine leather, suede and nubuck skins (i.e. these do not imitate the lower quality end). All the same, the imitations do not offer the wind shielding, warmth and fibre breathability of real leather, nubuck or suede. Most people that have an imitation leather, suede or nubuck jacket or coat will either find that it does not keep them warm in the depths of winter or will find themselves hot or sweating in the garment when in the warm indoors or in a warm environment.