Leather is created from animal skins or hides through the process of tanning which removes the hair or fur and alters the composition of the animal skin so that it is less likely to decompose. Leather tanning dates back many thousands of years, when natural tannin products and even dung were originally used to facilitate the process. As the procedures developed other products such as lime, fungicides and chromium agents were employed to cure the leather. The most common animal skins used for leather are lamb and sheepskin, antelope and buckskin.
Although most leather used in fashion garments is turned into jackets, trousers are still popular with women and sometimes men too. In celebrity circles, stars such as Catherine Zeta-Jones, Victoria Beckham, Cheryl Cole and Kim Kardashian have all been spotted in leather trousers, but for men the sightings are relatively rare. Brad Pitt has been seen out in pair, as has Hugh Jackman and on the stage George Michael often opts for leather and of course Elvis often wore them too. Even Lionel Richie has let on that he has a big collection of leather trousers, but it’s not surprising that must of them don’t fit him any longer.
Ralph Lauren, Dior and Versace have all produced leather men’s trousers in the past, some of which may be tracked down in vintage clothing stores today, but a more accessible source for new garments may be the motorcycle manufactures such as Ixon, Richa, RST or Furygan.
Another market where leather is employed as a material for men’s trouser is the alternative culture and pop market. Punk, Goth and fetish trends have all adopted leather as the material of choice, with the punk era including all kinds of zips, studs, pins, O rings and chain accessories to enhance the look. Iggy pop was seen wearing a customised pair of silver leather trousers too. Other pop stars in leather include Tom Jones, Ricky Martin, Michael Jackson even Justin Beiber recently too. While performing in Hamburg in the early sixties, The Beatles also went out shopping for leather trousers to complement their stage wear.
So you can see that all kinds of male stars, throughout the generations have opted for trousers made from leather to compliment their acts, but really that’s where the common thread lies, on the stage. Leather trousers have never really found their place in day-to-day wear, a position occupied almost exclusively by denim jeans.
They are perfect in a party or show-business situation, where the wearer needs to make an impression or stand out from the crowd or just wants to exhibit some individuality, but the challenges in wearing leather have probably prevented their popularity extending beyond that. It can be difficult to regulate ones temperature in a tight-fitting barely breathable material, plus comfort is an issue when stretch and give are limited too. It is also difficult and expensive to work in leather so altering a pair of trousers to fit can be challenging. But, should you find a pair that already fit, have not suffered years of wear and tear and still look great on you, then you’d be advised to snap them up as they are highly likely to hold their value, given the rarity of pairs on the second-hand market.
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