Interesting Facts About Fur & Leather

About Fur

  • In our descriptions you will note references to different types of fur-beaver, mink, fox, sheared beaver, knitted fur and so on. Following is a brief explanation of these types of fur.

  • Sheared Beaver is a soft, velvety texture, often dyed in new fashion colors.

  • Natural Beaver has long, lustrous guard hairs over thick underfur.

  • Chinchilla is a short, dense soft fur with lustrous slate blue guard hairs and dark underfur.

  • Coyote is a long-haired fur, often pale gray or tan in color, with thick soft underfur. It is a very durable fur.

  • Fox has the widest range of natural colors of any fur except mink. It has long, lustrous guard hairs with thick, soft underfur. Fox varieties include silver cross, crystal blue, red, gray and white and it can also be dyed in a wide variety of colors.

  • Broadtail Lamb has natural flat moire pattern. Natural colors include brown, black and gray and it is often dyed in more exotic colors.

  • Mongolian Lamb is very long and wavy with silky guard hairs. Its natural color is off-white, but it is often dyed.

  • Persian Lamb is from karakul sheep raised in Central Asia or Southwest Africa. The fur features flat silky curls and its natural colors are black, brown and grey.

  • Shearling Lamb consists of natural lamb pelts with the leather side sueded or leatherized and worn on the outside with the fur on the inside.

  • Mink is soft and lightweight with lustrous guard hairs and dense, soft underfur. Primarily farm-raised, mink remains the most popular fur. Female pelts are smaller in size and have a softer, silkier feel than male pelts. Minks can be died a wide range of colors and may be sheared for a sporty, casual look. Mink is a very durable fur.

  • Nutria is similar to beaver. It is often sheared for a sporty, more lightweight feel. Its underfur is very soft and plush. It is a popular fur for linings and trims, it is frequently dyed in a variety of colors.

  • Rabbit generally has medium length guard hairs in a variety of colors. It is often sheared or grooved. It is not very durable and has a tendency to shed.

  • Finn Raccoon has long, thick tan guard hairs with black tips and dense underfur. As the name implies, it is from Finland.

  • Sable has long, luxurious guard hairs with dense underfur, yet it is very lightweight. Russian sable is brown with silver cast and is the most expensive fur, especially when there is an abundance of silver hairs. Canadian golden sable has amber tones, and is somewhat less expensive. Sable is very durable.

  • Tanuki is also called Japanese raccoon. It has very long guard hairs and a full texture. Color is light amber brown with dark, distinctive markings.

Interesting Facts About Leather

All skins have two sides, the outside, or hair side, and the inside, or side against the muscle tissue. Tanners will process one side or the other, to produce the desired type of leather. LAMB NAPPA is the top grain, or outside of the skin, finished to a luxuriously smooth, wrinkle free surface. All our lamb nappas are "naked finished," producing a non-shinny, non-slick finish, which lets you feel the luxury of the leather directly. NUBUCK LEATHER, whether lamb or deerskin (we cut both), is the same top grain, or outside of the skin. The tanner subjects it to a buffing process, removing the grain that would have produced a nappa finish. The resulting top grain finish is often mistaken for suede, since it has a micro nap, much like suede. It is however a full top grain, and performs like a nappa.

Both NAPPA and NUBUCK are dyed in a variety of colors and treated with a variety of special finishes, such as distressed or shrunken effects. Both are very durable and can withstand water easily. They both clean well with water, using as much water as necessary to remove any water soluble soiling. In the same vain, both withstand mild wet weather, showing no adverse effect when dry again. Likewise, all leathers are effective wind breakers and a good leather coat is always a stylish and functional addition to any wardrobe.

SUEDE is produced from the inside, or back side of the top grain. Genuine suede does not have two "fuzzy" sides to it, since the back side of a suede skin is the top grain. There is a third type of leather, referred to as "split" leather, produced from thicker hides, from which the tanner splits the hide horizontally, producing a second sheet of leather, fuzzy on both sides. This "split" leather could be, and unfortunately often is represented as genuine suede. "Splits" tend to be ’boardy’ and stiff. They are offered at a lower price than suede, and are recognized by the educated consumer for what they are. GENUINE SUEDE is very soft and has a wonderful drape. It has the tensile strength of a top grain, much stronger than a split skin, and, yes, can be cleaned with water. The lamb suedes we cut are produced here in the United States and England, where we have them "SCOTCH-GARDED" (tm) in the tanning process, creating the most carefree, water repellent lamb suede possible.

One of the defining characteristics of a hide is its THICKNESS, or "millimeter" in tanner’s jargon. There is no one millimeter better than another, overall. At First Street Leather, however, we have chosen the niche of producing lightweight, thinner millimeter leather garments, and have cultivated our customer, over the years, to appreciate and expect softer and more lightweight leather garments than they are used to finding in other stores. Our lamb suede shirt for example is cut from a specially produced, thin millimeter "shirting" suede. Ever challenged to produce luxuriously light leather garments, we said, "Why not a jacket out of shirting?" The result is one of our best selling suede jackets, a shirt weight blouson windbreaker for men.