World of Avallone - Men's Fashion & Lifestyle
The Six Shearling-Collar Coats to Consider March 09 2015
- From Kempt Magazine
3 Kickstarter Projects to Enhance Your Wardrobe February 17 2015
We found 3 great kickstarter projects that will enahance your wardrobe and complement any Avallone handmade leather wallet, bag, or belt. Check out the video's and links below:
1. Kabaccha - Ultralight, comfortable & affordable leather shoes hand-crafted in Italy by artisan shoemakers.
2. The Quarter Century Pant - Made in America and backed by a 25 year guarantee.
3. The Tie Maker - All the essential ties you need without paying an arm and a leg.
School of Leather January 13 2015
It's one of the most hard-wearing, versatile and masculine materials around. This quick reference guide offers up everything you need to know about buying, wearing and maintaining leather.
The Essential Leather Glossary
There's a lot of jargon when it comes to leather. Which is why we put together these easy to understand explanations of the industry terms you'll likely encounter when shopping for quality leather goods.
Vegetable Tanned cowhide used for making equestrian equipment.
Deer or sometimes elk skin leather.
Skin from the domesticated water buffalo (and not the American bison).
A polishing technique where heat is generated resulting in a unique, darker surface shine.
High-quality, fine grained leather made from the skins of young cattle.
Also known as "shell cordovan," this leather is made from the firm shell portion of a horse (read: the butt). Cordovan has a characteristic finish, and is very durable.
Outside skin that's been smoothed with sand paper to minimize flaws, then pigment-dyed and embossed.
Like with raw denim, this is when the dyes or finishes rub off onto other materials.
Full Grain Leather
Leather that has not been corrected in any way, beyond the original hair removal, allowing the natural markings and character of the leather to show through. Full grain leathers must be cleaner hides to start with, making them more expensive.
Lambskin or other very soft, high quality leathers typically used for gloves.
A term used to describe the natural characteristics of an unprocessed hide, such as its texture, wrinkles and markings.
The Horween Leather Company is one of the oldest continuously running tanneries in the US. They offer a variety of pigments and tannages, utilizing primarily cowhide and horsehide along with some bison as well.
Soft, full grain leather made from unsplit sheep or lambskin. It is usually tanned with alum and chromium salts and dyed throughout the whole piece.
A leather where the surface has been buffed and brushed to create a soft, velvety effect. While suede is created from the flesh (inner) side of a hide, nubuck is created using the grain (outer) side, making it stronger.
Leather that is tanned using oils to create a very soft, pliable finish.
A dark, reddish-brown color used to dye leather, and is used often for cordovan.
Leather, one surface of which is covered with a flexible, waterproof film which has a lustrous mirror-like surface. This coating was formerly built up by the application of various varnishes and lacquers using linseed oil. The original process was developed in New Jersey, by inventor Seth Boyden in 1818. Today, patent leather
usually has a plastic coating.
The rich, worn-in hue or luster that develops in a quality piece of leather over time with age and wear.
A popular embossed leather grain finish that resembles a bumpy, pebbled surface.
Describes the behavior of leather that has been treated with oils, waxes and dyes so that when the leather is stretched (or pulled), the finish becomes lighter in those areas. Horween's Chromexcel is an example.
Sheepskin or lambskins that have been tanned with the wool intact.
The underneath layer of side leather which has been "split" off. Devoid of a natural grain, it may be either sueded or pigment finished and embossed.
A finish (not technically a type of leather) where the top surface of the hide has been removed by abrasion and then brushed to create a soft, fuzzy feel. Also known as buffed leather, similar to nubuck.
A method of hide tanning which utilizes materials from organic materials such as bark, instead of the traditional chemicals. Vegetable tanned leather is stiffer than traditionally-tanned leather, and gets darker from your body's natural oils the more you use it.
Buying a New Leather Bag or Wallet? – What You Need to Know First December 22 2014
A major part of making a smart purchasing decision when buying a leather jacket, leather bag, belt, wallet, or any other leather product is knowing exactly what kind of leather it was made with, and what characteristics that type of leather embodies. Once you familiarize yourself with the different manufacturing processes involved, and the different types of finished leather used on products today, you will drastically reduce your chances of being ripped off.
For those of you who do not know, companies produce leather by transforming a raw animal skin or hide into leather through a manufacturing process called “Tanning.” Tanning basically cures the animal hide, and prevents it from further decomposition. Once leather is tanned, companies use a finishing process to finalize the desired look and feel of the leather. It is through a combination of different tanning and finishing processes that result in the many varieties of leather you currently see in stores.
Some of the most popular tanning methods today are Chrome tanning and Vegetable tanning. There are also many other tanning methods that the majority of people are not familiar with. However, for our purposes we will cover the 4 most common methods; i.e. the ones responsible for producing the leather you will most likely encounter on your next trip to the store. The following is a list of each tanning process and the type of leather that results from it:
- Vegetable-tanned leather is tanned using tannins and other ingredients found in different vegetable matter, such as tree bark prepared in bark mills, wood, leaves, fruits and roots and other similar sources. It is supple and brown in color, with the exact shade depending on the mix of chemicals and the color of the skin. This is one of most natural ways to tan leather, and it is the only form of leather suitable for use in leather carving or stamping. This leather is not stable in water; it tends to discolor, so if left to soak and then dry it will shrink and become less supple, and harder. In hot water, it will shrink drastically and partly congeal, becoming rigid and eventually brittle. However, if treated with certain finishes and dies, this water instability can be prevented. The leather can be purchased in naked form, or in different colors finished by the manufacturer.
- Chrome-tanned leather, invented in 1858, is tanned using chromium sulfate and other salts of chromium. It is more supple and pliable than vegetable-tanned leather and does not discolor or lose shape as drastically in water as vegetable-tanned. More esoteric colors are possible using chrome tanning. The chrome tanning method usually only takes a day to finish and the ease and agility of this method make it a popular choice. It is reported that chrome tanned leather is responsible for close to 80% of the leathers in the world.
- Aldehyde-tanned leather is tanned using chemical compounds of glutaraldehyde or oxazolidine. Most tanners refer to this leather as wet-white due to its pale cream or white color. It is often seen in automobiles and shoes for infants, and is the main type of “chrome-free” leather.
- Rawhide is made by scraping the animal skin thin, soaking it in lime, and then stretching it while it dries. Rawhide is not technically "leather", but is usually lumped in with the other forms. Rawhide is stiffer and more brittle than other forms of leather; it's primarily found in uses such as drum heads and parchment where it does not need to flex significantly; it is also cut up into cords for use in lacing or stitching and for making different dog toys.
Once the leather tanning process has been completed, the newly tanned leather needs to be sent through a finishing process. Remember it is a combination of the tanning process and finishing process that gives you the finished leather seen in stores. Most tanning and finishing processes can be mixed and matched. For example, you can make Vegetable tanned full grain leather, or you can make chrome tanned full grain leather. Different finishing processes result in different leathers. The following is a list of the most common finished leathers with some explanation on how they were finished.
- Full-grain leather refers to hides that have not been sanded, buffed, or snuffed (as opposed to top-grain or corrected leather) to remove imperfections (or natural marks) on the surface of the hide. The grain remains allowing the fiber strength and durability. The grain also has breathability, resulting in less moisture from prolonged contact. Rather than wearing out, it will develop a patina over time. High quality luxury leather furniture, shoes, leather briefcases, leather wallets, leather belts, and many other items are often made from full-grain leather.
- Top-grain leather has had the "split" layer separated away, making it thinner and more pliable than full-grain. Its surface has been sanded and a finish coat added to the surface which results in a colder, plastic feel with less breathability, and it will not develop a natural patina. It has greater resistance to stains than full-grain leather, so long as the finish remains unbroken.
- Corrected-grain leather is any leather that has had an artificial grain applied to its surface. The hides used to create corrected grain leather do not meet the standards for use in creating vegetable-tanned or aniline leather. The imperfections are corrected or sanded off, and an artificial grain embossed into the surface and dressed with stain or dyes. Most corrected-grain leather is used to make pigmented leather, as the solid pigment helps hide the corrections or imperfections.
- Split leather is created from the fibrous part of the hide left once the top-grain of the rawhide has been separated from the hide. During the splitting operation, the top-grain and drop split are separated. The drop split can be further split (thickness allowing) into a middle split and a flesh split. In very thick hides, the middle split can be separated into multiple layers until the thickness prevents further splitting. Split leather then has an artificial layer applied to the surface of the split and is embossed with a leather grain. Splits are also used to create suede. The strongest suede’s are usually made from grain splits (that have the grain completely removed) or from the flesh split that has been shaved to the correct thickness. Suede is "fuzzy" on both sides. Manufacturers use a variety of techniques to make suede from full-grain.
Additional Finished Leathers that are derived from the main categories seen above.
- Nappa leather is a kind of full-grain leather first made by Emanuel Manasse in 1875 whilst working for a tanning company in Napa, California. That is how the leather got its name. Nappa leather is full-grain un-split leather made from kid, lamb or sheep skin. Nappa leather is typically chrome tanned to give it a very soft and supple feel, and dyed so as to obtain various colors.
- Nubuck is top-grain cattle hide leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side, or outside, to give a slight nap of short protein fibers, producing a velvet-like surface
- Patent leather is leather that has been given a high-gloss finish. Patent leather usually has a plastic coating, and can be made from any type of hide.
- Vachetta leather is a type of full grain leather and is used in the trimmings of luggage and handbags. The leather is left untreated and is therefore susceptible to water and stains. Sunlight will cause the natural leather to darken in shade, called a patina.
- Belting leather is a type of full-grain leather that was originally used in driving pulley belts and other machinery. It is found on the surface of briefcases, portfolios, and wallets, and can be identified by its thick, firm feel and smooth finish.
Now that you are familiar with the main tanning and finishing processes, and the different leather those methods produce, you can put that knowledge to good use. Next time you are shopping, whether on the internet or in the store, take a look at the tag or description of the leather bag, wallet, or belt you are buying. Take note of the type of leather it was made with, think back on the processes used to produce that particular leather, and what type of characteristics those processes give that leather. You will now have a better idea on the durability and use you will get from that leather product before spending your hard earned money.
How to Spot Fake Leather When Shopping December 15 2014
It's not always easy to tell the difference between genuine and fake leather. If you think you're getting a genuine leather handbag or pair of shoes, it can be disheartening to later learn that you have been deceived. So to help you spot the hot from the not, use the tips below for detecting fake leather.
- Study the edging where the fabric has been cut. Real leather will have a rough-around-the-edges look and feel to it, but fake leather will look and feel like foam or plastic.
- Feel the fabric. Fake leather has an artificially smooth, often plastic feel to it. Depending on the type and quality of leather, real leather can range from course to silky smooth. But the texture will generally be less consistent than fake (since you can't regulate the real thing) and have a suppler feel to it.
- Examine for pores on the surface of the leather. Pores on the fake will be in a consistent, repeating pattern, whereas pores on the real thing will be more irregular.
- Take a whiff of the product. If it doesn't have that distinct "leather" scent, you can be sure that it's a fake.
- Spend some time comparing fake leather products with genuine leather. Once you've seen the difference between the two, you will eventually get good at spotting a faux right away.