History and Use of Leather
A symbol of man’s resourcefulness and ingenuity, leather is a material we have been working with since ancient times. The coveted material has made its mark in history by being a constant and significant aspect in nearly every era of fashion and design.
One of our most useful discoveries, early man first realised the benefits of animal hides when they utilised the hides for clothing, footwear and shelter from natural elements. However, untreated raw hides will rot under heat or turn stiff in cold weather. To counter this issue, humans started rubbing animal fats onto the hides to preserve them, and soft, durable leather was produced for the first time.
The increased durability from tanning allowed primitive man to recognise how useful hides can be, and tanned hides saw a rise in popularity around 1300 BC. The first written record of leather documented in Ancient Egypt can be traced back to this time period.
Over time, the techniques of hideworking was passed down through generations, and the art of making leather developed into a serious craft. As the use of leather spread across the world, the material was appreciated by many civilisations over the years: from being highly prized by pharaohs and queens in Ancient Egypt to seeing a thriving trade during the Renaissance, where it was used extensively in accessories such as coats and dresses.
Today, leather has withstood the test of time to remain as a staple in contemporary culture. Evolving alongside civilisation over the years, the art of making leather is continually refreshing itself and has developed into a sophisticated craft of high regard. Popular among people across different cultures and ages, leather is a material that will stay for many years to come.