Please tell me you got the reference in the title… this leather is rotten to the core! No?
While I was in NYC last month I had one shopping mission, and that was to find the perfect leather jacket. I searched and searched around Soho for hours on end with my mom; hitting nearly every upscale and dive shop in the area. I gave up on my mission numerous times as the rain began to pour and my patience began to wane. Either the jacket was too pricey for the style, or it just wasn’t quite right on me. Right when we were going to give up and go back to the hotel, we walked by a shop and my mom said “Let’s check in here”. “Okay, last place though.” Said I.
Being exhausted and not possessing much hope, I approached an employee before even looking around the store. “Do you have any leather jackets? I want to look like a Ramone.”
“Over here.” She then led me to inside the BIG KAHUNA of leather jackets. La creme de la creme! The jacket was an authentic Schott NYC jacket. The thing cost more than a months rent! She soon went into a clearly cleverly crafted sales pitch about how not only The Ramones wore this brand, but so did James Dean and Bruce Springsteen! She had me hooked. I had to do it! Usually I detest anything brand name, however i’m the easiest, most shallow person I know when it comes to things I consider to be Rock ‘N Roll. I pranced around the store in the new leather for my mom and the sales lady, asking “Does this size work?”, “Is it my style?”. In my mind though, it was already a done deal.
I lucked out with this particular jacket as it’s exactly the look I wanted, is amazing quality, and has history to boot. So how do you know if a leather jacket is quality without being fooled by the price tag? There are a few things to look for. Allow me to assist.
What animal does it come from? – Okay, so this why I wouldn’t wear leather for about 5 years as a PETA- following teenager. “Pleather only, please!” Morally, I jumped on the bandwagon that states animals shall not be slaughtered for our clothing purposes. Fair enough, and I still love animals, but over time I grew much more into my existential self and kind of just said …fuck it.
Back to my point though. The most common animal that leather comes from is are cows. This is due to the durability of the fabric along with its relatively low cost. Cowhide leathers are often great for withstanding water and dirt, which makes them great for people with a little out-of-city adventure in their lives. It’s the outlaw choice.
Deerskin is also often used in the making of leather jackets. Much less tough than cowhide however, it gets softer and softer as it is worn. Because of the flexible texture, deerskin is often used to make handbags and gloves as well.
Goatskin/ Lambskin. These leathers are both extremely soft and durable – giving the jacket a long life of wear. They are commonly worn for their fashionability. The leather is also not very grainy, giving it a smooth, appealing look.
Where are you buying it? This is always something to consider if you want great quality and longevity out of whatever it is you are buying. Buying a leather jacket from a discount store is probably not as credible as buying one from a known and trusted brand. Do your research. Buying a leather jacket, at least for me, was an investment in the future of my street cred and one that I was not about to take lightly. If you’re spending the money, put in the time.
What “Grade” of Leather is it? There are three grades of leather to look out for – 1, 2, and 3. Grade 1 (full grain) leather is the highest grade, meaning that it’s clear, supple, and clean. They are even in color and a very smooth surface. Grade 2 leather is consistent in color but is slightly imperfect when it comes to clarity. Grade 3 (patchwork) leather is often made from scraps left over from other garments. The color will be inconsistent and blotchy and there will be a coating on it to hide imperfections.
Talk to the salesperson about it.
Reason #342389472394734 why I don’t take selfies – I’m a truly awkward person. Bare (bear) with me.