Time for another post from Uncle Bill here! Just in case you were wondering, I have not been getting much of that storm from hurricane Fay here in Orlando. It really flooded parts of the coast and all, but Orlando is in the middle of the state. So we have a steady rain, but no real storm or flooding here.
So on with the post of today, which is, just where does all our leather come from? I don’t mean what animal, I mean who produces it, tans it and so on. What county or countries are the biggest suppliers of leather in the USA? If you think most come from right here, your wrong, and the top country that produces leather may surprise you.
Most of the leather jackets you see in any store was made outside of the USA. That pretty much is the way most everything is today. Even Harley-Davidson has their leather apparel made outside the USA. Now that does not mean it’s not quality. Leather made outside the USA can be the finest quality. In fact most quality leather in the USA is imported, simply because most leather is imported.
There are some places that make all their own leather right here in the USA, and most of it is quality leather. But for the most part, your going to end up wearing a leather jacket made outside the USA, even if that sewn in tag says “made in the USA”. So here are the top four leather importers, leaving the top one for last.
Now I really should not even mention Italy since we are talking about mostly motorcycle leather, but everyone always thinks of Italy when they think of leather. Italy Imports tons of leather items, but almost none of it motorcycle leather. They Import high fashion leather jackets, leather dress coats, fur coats, leather shirts and pants and so on. Of course they make lots of leather furniture, purses, wallets and so on. But again not much for motorcycle leather jackets.
This place produces a lot of leather, mostly from buffalo and pigskin. The labor is cheap, and in fact they use lots of child and slave labor, at least that’s what I’ve heard. How can you tell if it’s from Indonesia if you want to avoid it? You can’t, so don’t bother trying. They make very good quality leather jackets, as well as the cheaper stuff.
Made in China, have you ever heard of that, lol. You knew they would be in this list, as they seem to make just about everything. A lot of the leather items from China are made from pigskin, which as I’ve said is actually a quality leather. They make very good quality leather jackets for some big USA companies. They also make the cheapest “bonded leather” or patchwork leather crap you can find. It all depends on the company that is paying for the work.
Surprised? Yes the number one importer of leather jackets, apparel, furniture and other leather is Pakistan. Even American automobile leather comes from there. Almost all the leather is from buffalo, cows and pigs. Big leather companies in the USA that have the highest quality leather apparel gets it from Pakistan.
Lots of companies have the whole finished product made overseas. They even sew in that cute “made in USA” label. How can they? Well I guess if they do anything at all to the item once it’s over here they can say it’s been made here. I’m not sure how that works, but I do know most of it is all processed, tanned, cut and made overseas.
Again, that is fine. Most of it is high quality, it all depends on the company. What happens is say company A is a dealer of fine leather jackets. They get a contract with “we work long time for you” in China. They tell them it has to be made just so, made from the best leather and so on. They say fine, and make a good quality product.
Now, they also have a contract with “Wild Tom’s house of leather”. 😮
This guy just wants them to make the cheapest leather they can, mostly bonded or patchwork leather. So after they make those nice quality leather jackets for company A, they sweep up all the leftover leather and bad parts, throw it in the machine that makes it one big sheet and makes the cheap crap for Wild Tom!!
Like I said, there are some that make their own leather right here in the USA. But even then that is not a sure thing that it is quality. In fact some really bad leather is made right here. Again, the thing to do is go with a leather company that seems to have a good reputation for making quality leather items. That does NOT mean the most expensive.
In my next post maybe I’ll explain how the whole markup thing works with leather, so you know why you can go to two different stores, see the exact same leather jacket, and get a $200.00 difference in price. Anyway I hope you enjoyed learning where most leather comes from. Bye for now!