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Leather thickness and aging potential

livioli

Familiar Face
Messages
97
No, in fact many of my Japanese friends hate leather with a brown core. It’s promoted a lot by stores like Self Edge because they can position it as an equivalent to denim fades. Often a jacket is available in Japan with a dyed through black option but the American stockists won’t sell it because they don’t want to undermine their messaging.

Furthermore despite the ‘tea core’ marketing term that comes from Japan, it’s not an especially rare or even exclusively Japanese thing for a leather to be brown at the core with a different top coat.


There’s a lot more to leather ageing and developing character than the black top fading or chipping. For example, a dyed through black Schott or Vanson leather looks stunning when it’s been worn hard and the leather has taken on a life of its own. There’s a reason why with so much else in my closet I still end up reaching for the 613SH all the time; the leather is just next level.



Again I would dispute Canuck’s conjecture here. I have never heard of “peanut butter Shinki” nor is it a matter of an old type and a new type. Companies can and do order both normal black Shinki horsehide and the super fast fading type that chips off, some offering a choice. FCL favors the fast fading/chipping variety.

Also, Shinki shell being made at the same location is not an indication of quality. Shinki shell cordovan is an extremely low grade leather used for making kindergarten bags for Japanese school kids. The Shinki tannery makes good leathers and not so good leathers alike. It’s just boosted hard, to a bizarre extent, as a super-leather by much of the denim store world. I’ve had awkward conversations with stores when they’re trying to propagandize to me lol.

Shinki horsehide is good, but I don’t think it’s the best in my closet let alone in the world. I prefer Schott’s Italian tanned horsehide to it in general and Horween’s for depth of color on non black leathers.

To be clear, I don’t mean to sound combative at all. Just clarifying what are some pretty widespread misconceptions.
No, you don't sound combative at all. I'm trying to educate myself so I appreciate the straightforwardness.

I'm trying to narrow down my list of requirements so I hoped focusing on Shinki would make my search easier. Here's the list: (got it from denim hunters)
  • Veg tanned
  • Full-grain leather
  • horsehide
  • Respected tannery
  • Immediately obvious that this is an animal hide and not some hunk of plastic
 

Aloysius

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,714
No, you don't sound combative at all. I'm trying to educate myself so I appreciate the straightforwardness.

I'm trying to narrow down my list of requirements so I hoped focusing on Shinki would make my search easier. Here's the list: (got it from denim hunters)
  • Veg tanned
  • Full-grain leather
  • horsehide
  • Respected tannery
  • Immediately obvious that this is an animal hide and not some hunk of plastic

Ah, I assumed you came from a site like that. The denim lifestyle sites are completely clueless about leather, even if they accidentally get something right. It’s basically just regurgitating the marketing for whatever the favored brands are at the moment at Self Edge and the like.

Veg tanned vs chrome tanned is not a quality marker. There are great leathers of both and chrome tan has some distinct advantages.

Full grain, sure, it’s the most intact. Won’t argue with that except to note that a good top grain is just as good, and better than a subpar full grain.

Horsehide vs cowhide tells you much less than the specific tanning process does. A Horween Chromexcel steerhide and horsehide, for example, are more similar to each other than to a different steerhide or horsehide respectively.

Tannery names—this one is one of the biggest pitfalls of the workwear crowd. If a maker is reliable enough to make a good jacket, it is reliable enough to source good leather. Tanneries aren’t generally consumer brands, so often the best leathers have no customer-known name. That doesn’t mean we don’t know the names of some tanneries, like Horween or Shinki or Sedgwick, but this knowledge can even be misleading. Case in point: workwear guys have expensive boots made out of Shinki shell, because they were convinced SHINKI IS THE BEST when they were talking each other into Real McCoys jackets. However, Shinki Shell is such a poor quality leather that until this Shinki fad, it was only used by the most budget shoe makers who wanted to claim they had shell cordovan.

What do you mean by plasticky? A top coat or shiny finish? On a good leather, those break in beautifully and look far more attractive to me than naked hides, especially when it comes to black jackets.
 

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