What is Leather? Attributes & Garment Care

What is Leather? Attributes & Garment Care



Leather, with its rich heritage and luxurious appeal, occupies a unique space in the fashion world. Unlike its synthetic counterparts, leather is as old as civilization itself, evolving from a fundamental necessity to a symbol of sophistication and opulence.

This article explores the legacy of leather, highlighting its intrinsic qualities, versatility in fashion, and the strides being made towards ethical and sustainable practices in leather production.

The Legacy of Leather

Leather’s History

Leather was originally prized for its exceptional durability and protection. Over centuries, its role expanded beyond utilitarian needs, becoming a staple of fashion, luxury, and craftsmanship. Today, leather is revered not only for its aesthetic appeal but also for its ability to age gracefully, acquiring character over time.

Durability and Texture

One of leather's most known attributes is its durability. Leather goods, when cared for properly, can last for decades, converse to the fast-paced cycles of fashion trends. Moreover, leather's texture and patina develop with age, giving each piece crafted a unique look and feel with wear.

Versatility in Fashion

Leather's versatility is unparalleled, being incorporated in a vast array of items from jackets and boots to handbags and wallets. Its natural elegance elevates any outfit, offering a seamless fusion of form and function. The ability of leather to adapt to different styles and finishes allows it to cater to a wide range of tastes and preferences, from the ruggedness of distressed leather to the polished sheen of patent leather.

Types of Leather

Nappa: The general term for the soft, chrome, tanned, smooth leather of all animal skin types.

Nubuck: Aniline leather lightly buffed on the grain surface to create a velvety finish. The nap is very fine because of the tight fibre structure in the grain layer.

Patent: A high gloss and shiny leather.

Sheepskin: The sheep wool is left on the hide, making it warm to wear.

Suede: A split leather which has been ground to create a distinctive surface. It is usually very soft and malleable and, therefore, perfect for creating garments.

Leather Care

  • Keep Leather Dry: Avoid exposing leather to water. If it gets wet, gently blot (do not rub) the moisture away with a soft cloth and let it air dry naturally.
  • Clean Regularly: Wipe the leather with a soft, dry cloth to remove dust and dirt. For a deeper clean, use a cleaner specifically designed for leather. Apply in a circular motion and wipe off with a clean, damp cloth. Make sure you do not use any harsh chemicals or cleaners, as this can ruin the properties of the leather, and cause unwanted staining and damage.
  • Avoid Direct Sunlight: Store leather away from direct sunlight and heat sources to prevent fading and drying out.
  • Proper Storage: Store leather clothing on wide, padded/wooden hangers to maintain shape. For leather goods, store in a breathable cloth bag to prevent dust accumulation and avoid plastic bags which can cause moisture buildup. Please note that improper storage with too much moisture can also lead to rusting on metal trims, including zips.
  • Stain Removal: Blot spills immediately with a clean, absorbent cloth. For stubborn stains, seek professional cleaning advice to avoid damage.
  • Avoid Overstuffing: Leather bags and wallets should be kept lightly packed to maintain their shape and prevent stretching or creasing.
  • Maintain Shape: Stuff boots and bags with acid-free tissue paper to help retain their shape when not in use.
  • Rotate Use: Regularly rotating your leather items can prevent excessive wear and tear on any one piece, extending the lifespan of your collection.
  • Professional Care: For significant damage or wear, consult a professional leather cleaner or restorer who can provide specialised treatments and repairs.

Please note: If damage occurs to a product, you should immediately send to a specialist for repair. Repeat wear when damaged may cause irreversible impairment to goods. Ensure any repair work is certified to work with leather apparel.


Leather's journey from purely utility to modern luxury encapsulates a deep respect for tradition, craftsmanship, and sustainability. At Represent, we incorporate it into our designs with a commitment to ethical sourcing and environmental responsibility.