Wednesday, November 4, 2009

1930's Jackets: The Perfect Horsehide

Part of making perfect jackets is learning about the materials that make up he bricks and mortar of vintage jackets. Another part is about learning the techniques used to put these unique materials together. These are not the same techniques that are used today in mass produced garments. The great challenges of the last two years have been about both the materials and the unique requirements necessary to put them together in an excellent jacket. Finding the perfect leather has been a global search. I have looked on my local doorstep and overseas searching high and low for the perfect horsehide and goatskin. The requirement was simple
: find tanneries that produced an ethical quality product that was made the way leather was produced pre-1940 and also did the least amount of "harm" to mother earth. My search was paid in spades. The horsehide I have is bark tanned in a solution for months, recreating a tough tear resistant leather that is a near perfect match for early horsehide. It is super strong and yet it is supple. It is hand staked and shrunk to create a perfect hide top grain. The horses are deadstock and therefore the hides are unblemished by mistreatment or transportation. My tanneries are subject to strict 1st world regulations that produce the finest quality leather with the least amount of impact. Interestingly this leather emulates early 30s leather so well that the leather had to be spray finished, the same as in the 30s. Early vegetable tanned leather did not take black dyes well as I learned speaking with my friend Wolfgang, the Chief chemist at Dominion Tanning throughout the 1950s and 1960s. On early jackets scuffs and scrapes often revealed the underlying natural color of the leather. Check out my latest versions of early 20s and 30s jackets!