Leather is made from skins or hides of animals and preserved with a process called “tanning”. The outcome is leather or suede. Smooth leather is the outside of the animal skin and the suede, (the inside of the animal hide) is usually mechanically treated and buffed to raise the nap and give the surface a velvety look and feel. Both leather and suede are treated with chemicals and oils which make it possible to add dyes and finishes.
When purchasing leather garments you want to look for close matching colors and textures on the garment. Leather will sometimes shrink during cleaning so make sure to purchase garments that do not fit too snug. The glue used to attach seams, lining, hems, and trim may not be resistant to cleaning solvents, dissolving or seeping into the leather. Seepage can shade affected areas, cause discoloration or when used to glue lining or spandex, can pull away from the leather hide leaving it looking wrinkled and stretched. .
Always purchase leather products from reputable retailers that will stand behind their product.
Here are some tips to follow between cleanings.
· If your leather garment becomes wet, let it dry at room temperature.
· If your leather garment becomes stained, gently blot liquid stains with a clean cloth.
· It is a good idea to use a repellent product to condition your leather garment.
· Store your leather garment on a wide wooden, plastic or padded hanger to help maintain the shape.
· Do not store your leather garments in a hot or damp area.
· Leather garments need to be stored in a temperature controlled environment.
· When you are storing your leather garment, cover it with a breathable cloth, such as cotton sheets.
· Do not cover your leather garments with plastic. The plastic will cause the leather to dry out.
· Avoid exposing your leather garments to direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time.
Imitation leathers and suede’s are an economical way to add the look of leather to your attire. These garments are produced in such a variety of ways that it may sometimes prove difficult to distinguish it from the real thing. Vinyl or urethane based films may be used to coat the material while others may be made to look like suede. Coatings and imitations may be vulnerable to a host of problems, such as self-sticking, blistering, puckering, or stiffening