Leather Fashion Accessories A Progressive and Fascinating History

Published: 23rd October 2008
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Accessories can be defined as, clothing that is worn and carried, but not the part of the main clothing; which is a supplementary component.

Fashion accessories are decorative items, such as watches, sunglasses, jewelry, gloves, handbags, hats, and belts. Accessories do not only add style and color to an outfit, but they also have practical uses for specific purposes, such as, people use handbags to carry goods, gloves to keep hands warm, mobile covers to protect mobile phones from dust etc.

Leather fashion accessories, ranging from handbags to gloves have been popular for thousand of years for its soft feel and elegant look. Leather was readily available in use, as it resulted in the by-product of hunting. Leather fashion accessories are valued for their appeal and durability.

The leather industry is one of the oldest industries. In prehistoric times, our ancestors used skins of animals to satisfy their basic needs, protect their hands, body and feet.

History of Leather
Leather goods and its fashion accessories have a long history, which started since the Egyptian era. It was the Egyptian men, who were wearing leather pouches and handbags to store their essential bits and pieces needed in their daily life.

In the 1200 B.C., the Greeks were using leather accessories and garments at the time of Homeric heroes, later the use of leather spread throughout the Roman Empire.
Women in the 16th century were carrying 'sweet bags', full of perfume and herbs to help cope with tainted smell and men began to wear leather garments with small pockets in them.

The 17th century took a step forward for innovation in leather accessories, men developed modern handbags out of purses and pouches. Handbags were being carrying by both men and women and women handbags were well decorated and hand-stitched.

In the 18th century, using pockets in clothes were very popular among the people; sometimes extremely big pockets were used with the outfit, which in turn began to ruin the very outline of the clothes.

So the plain leather and embroidered handbags become very popular in the 19th Century. The leather handbags manufacturer started to manufacture stylish bags in different sizes and colors; they began to be more fashionable.

The 20th Century, gave birth to several other leather accessories like jackets, key rings etc., along with the leather handbags and women started to use them so often that they became a integral part of style.

When fashion magazines started featuring leather fashion accessories, it helped the leather to be widely popular. Nearly all of the major fashion houses like Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, and Versace have come up with their innovative design and stylish look for the leather fashion accessories.

Manufacturing of Leather
Manufacturing leather out of skin is not a single process; it is a combination of four major operations:

' Beamhouse Operations: It is a process of removal of unwanted materials from the hide, such as hair, fleshy tissues etc.
' Tanning: It converts collagen protein of the hide into a stable material, which would be stable under heat and moisture.
' Post Tanning: In the Post Tanning process, leather goes through Neutralize, Dyeing, Drying and Stacking.
' Finishing: It is a process of applying coating on the surface of leather that makes leather more durable, masks defects, improve water resistance and enhance color and appearance.

Most of leather used today is a by-product of beef industry. Almost 50% of this leather is used to produce shoes, 25% to make clothing, 15% for upholstery and the rest is used to produce accessories.

Fashion leather accessories manufactured by the skin of other animals and reptiles, such as, crocodile, snake, lamb, kangaroo, buffalo and deer are very popular but often limited and protested by Animal Rights Activists and

Now a day's people prefer accessories made out of leather to those made of artificial materials like Pyroxylin Coated Fabrics. The overwhelming popularity of fashion accessories made of leather is because of its ability to shape it into an uneven look, better durability as compared to the other fabrics and warm feeling.

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