Leather

   One of the oldest materials used by man to fashion clothing, leather dates back 50,000 years to Cro-Magnon man. The invention of preserving and then softening animal skins, known as tanning, provided warmth as early man migrated to cold climates. Animal skins were also used to create footwear, furniture, and utensils and provide shelter. Innovations in the tanning process during the nineteenth century, by American Augustus Schultz, revolutionized and streamlined the tanning process through the use of chromium salts. Other technological advances included the use of sulfuric acid, fat liquors, and chemical tannins and new machinery that made skins softer and thinner. While these advances increased production, they also added to the high cost of processing leather, thus making it a luxury commodity. Today, hides (large animal skins such as buffalo, cow, deer, horse, and pig) and skins (smaller animal skins such as goat, sheep, and lamb) come in myriad colors, finishes, and textures. Leather products have ranged from gazelle skin loincloths and ceremonial tribesmen garb to World War II aviator jackets, and tough-guy 1950s motorcycle jackets to Claude Montana voluminous leather coats circa 1980. Wearing leather is synonymous with status, sex appeal, and bravado. It creates an allure like no other material and even after continued attacks by the animal rights group PETA, the leather industry is still a thriving multibillion-dollar global industry. Today, the leather industry is supported by trade associations such as Leather Industries of America (LIA) and the Leather Apparel Association (LAA) with new, more environmentally friendly tanning methods on the horizon.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Leather — Leath er (l[e^][th] [ e]r), n. [OE. lether, AS. le[eth]er; akin to D. leder, le[^e]r, G. leder, OHG. ledar, Icel. le[eth]r, Sw. l[ a]der, Dan. l[ae]der.] 1. The skin of an animal, or some part of such skin, with the hair removed, and tanned,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • leather — [leth′ər] n. [ME lether < OE lether , akin to Ger leder, ON lethr, MHG leder < Gmc * lethra < ? or akin ? to Celt base as in OIr lethar, Welsh lledr] 1. a material consisting of animal skin prepared for use by removing the hair and… …   English World dictionary

  • leather — leath er, a. Of, pertaining to or made of leather; consisting of leather; as, a black leather jacket. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • leather — ► NOUN 1) a material made from the skin of an animal by tanning or a similar process. 2) a piece of leather as a polishing cloth. 3) (leathers) leather clothes worn by a motorcyclist. ► VERB 1) (leathered) cover with leather. 2) …   English terms dictionary

  • leather — (n.) O.E. leðer (in compounds only) hide, skin, leather, from P.Gmc. *lethran (Cf. O.N. leðr, O.Fris. lether, O.S. lethar, M.Du., Du. leder, O.H.G. ledar, Ger. leder), from PIE *letro leather (Cf. O.Ir. lethar, Welsh lledr, Breton …   Etymology dictionary

  • Leather — Leath er, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Leathered}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Leathering}.] To beat, as with a thong of leather. [Obs. or Colloq.] G. Eliot. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Leather — For other uses, see Leather (disambiguation). Modern leather working tools Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different… …   Wikipedia

  • leather — /ledh euhr/, n. 1. the skin of an animal, with the hair removed, prepared for use by tanning or a similar process designed to preserve it against decay and make it pliable or supple when dry. 2. an article made of this material. 3. See stirrup… …   Universalium

  • leather — 01. I bought a beautiful [leather] coat in Mexico for only $150. 02. Hey, if you re a vegetarian, how come you re wearing [leather] shoes? 03. He spends a lot of time out in the sun working on his tan, so his skin has gotten quite [leathery] and… …   Grammatical examples in English

  • Leather — La bandera de orgullo leather, también utilizada por las subculturas aficionadas a los fetichismos sexuales y al BDSM …   Wikipedia Español

  • leather — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ thick, thin ▪ soft ▪ shiny ▪ worn ▪ black ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

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