Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Quality Leather

I bought this jacket at an air show back in the 1990's.  After nearly 15 years, I took it back to the manufacturer to have the sleeves re-sewn.  It still looks and wears like new, and probably will last me the rest of my life.

Quality leather is worth spending money on.  If you are Vegan, read no further, as this posting will just piss you off.  Well, probably most of mine do, if you are Vegan.

A lot of folks like to buy cheap leather or fashion leather.  This stuff is sold cheaply (but not cheaply enough, given how long it lasts) usually in fashion stores in the mall.  The leather is thin "split leather" and may be treated to chemicals to make it look old or "distressed".

Funny thing, though, a real leather jacket, properly taken care of, rarely gets "distressed".  My A2 jacket (above) gets a lot of wear.  It's made of goat skin, by a company called Perrone Leather, near Albany, New York.   I've crawled under cars with it - on gravel roads - and it has nary a scratch.  The thing weighs a ton (it is always fun to hand it to your host at a party and watch their arms sag and they go "ugh! what is this thing made of, lead?") and even the pockets are lined with leather.   It simply doesn't wear out.

I decided to change the elastic sleeves to leather cuffs, and also the elastic waistband.  Total damage, $75.  I think I paid maybe $400 for the jacket back in the day.  Considering it will outlast one of those cheap split-leather jackets by a factor of 4:1, at least, it is a good bargain.

I started buying leather jackets when I was riding motorcycles.  If you ride a motorcycle, invest in good leather.  When you fall off the bike (not if, when) it will save you months of excruciating pain and skin grafts.  Plus they are warm on cold nights and also breathe on warm days.

My first jacket I had for well over a decade.  When I got out of motorcycling, I sold it to a leather shop.  No kidding, they gave me $100 for it - and re-sold it to someone else.  I would have kept it, but for some reason, it had "shrunk" over time - or perhaps I had gotten larger (nah!).

A lot of folks take a different approach.  They buy cheap clothes at the mall stores and then throw them away when they wear out (which is often) or when they go out of style (ditto).  So they end up spending 2-3 times as much on clothes as they need to.

It is like a story I once read about the shoe business.  Back in the day, some manufacturers would sell cheap shoes with cardboard soles, to poor people.  They were very cheap, but they would wear out almost instantly.  The poor would spend more money buying cheap shoes than they would buying one good pair of leather soled shoes.  But guess what?  Most poor folks preferred to buy the cheap shoes, even though in the long-term, they ended up costing more.  That's why the poor stay poor, unfortunately.

Invest in good quality leather goods.  And then hang onto them.  Quality endures long after style wears off.