Since 2016


July 24, 2023 3 min read

by Monique Youzwa

Monique has been a full-time freelance writer for over 5 years, plus has a few fiction credits under her belt and is currently working on a novel. When not writing, she spends her time reading, playing video games, hiking, and camping with her husband and daughter.


Leather is known for its strength and durability, which is why it is favored by those wanting their clothing and other gear to last. There is another side to leather, though. It has a distinctive look and style that makes it a favorite of luxury fashion designers. Of course, these experts are particular about the material they choose for their exceptional items.

Luxury designers mainly stick with full-grain leather to maintain the material’s natural appearance. They also prefer the more elegant options, like calfskin or lambskin, due to the soft, silky texture, though rare options are also chosen for their unique features. Even the processing is carefully considered to ensure the leather types used in high fashion are one-of-a-kind. Let’s take a look at the top options.

Shell Cordovan Leather

Shell Cordovan leather comes from a tiny area of a horse’s backside. Unlike leathers made from animal hides, Shell Cordovan is a combination of flesh and cartilage, creating a flat piece of fibrous connective tissue. Each horse only features two small oval sections of this particular material.

Only a few areas of the world use horses for food, which makes Shell Cordovan leather tricky to locate, especially in large quantities. The rarity of the material and the long processing time to create the deeply colored, smooth, glossy pieces makes Shell Cordovan leather one of the priciest options on the market.

Saffiano Leather

Saffiano leather was created by Mario Prada in 1913 and has become one of the most popular leathers in high fashion in the last hundred years. The original design included high-quality calfskin leather coated in wax and pressed with a distinctive cross-hatch print.

Unlike other leathers, the material doesn’t need to be dyed to achieve the rich coloring. Instead, pigments are added to the wax to create luxury items of all shades. Saffiano leather pieces are expensive due to their specialized processing and unique design.

Togo Calfskin

Togo leather was introduced to the world in 1997 by Hermes and has become a favorite in the world of luxury fashion bags. It is made of high-quality calfskin, with a soft pebbled finish that feels smooth yet grainy.

Togo leather is lightweight but maintains its shape well and resists scratches and wear. Though the calfskin material isn’t difficult to find, the texture is more luxurious than other materials. The elegance and the Hermes name raise the price of this material, though they aren’t hard to find if you can afford them.

PHYSICAL - The Admiral Moto

PHYSICAL - The Suede Double Rider

PHYSICAL - The Technical Bomber

Nappa Lambskin Leather

Nappa lambskin leather has one of the softest textures available, though it is also extremely durable. When processed, it isn’t buffed, sanded, or corrected, maintaining the natural full-grain look of the skin. Nappa lambskin can also be dyed in several distinctive colors to add even more appeal to the leather.

The softness of the material is perfect for high-end jackets, gloves, shoes, and bags, giving you plenty of opportunities to show off your luxury style.

Crocodile Leather

Crocodile leather comes at a high cost, though the distinctive pattern and unique feel of the material are perfect for high fashion. During processing, the belly side of younger animals is removed and processed to create a soft, usable product. Though quite similar to alligator leather,crocodile skins have a more even scale pattern and no umbilical scar, giving it a finished look before it’s even processed.

Crocodile leather is sourced from breeding farms and only on a small scale. There are strict laws regulating the number of animals killed each year, so it isn’t as easy to find high-fashion items made of this leather.

leather types used in high fashion

Final Word

Though several types of leather can be used for fashion, only a few have the distinctive look and feel that high fashion designers are looking for. These leather types stand out from the rest, drawing the eye to their glorious appearance and sensual textures. Their high price and rarity only add to their appeal, raising their treasured status in the eyes of consumers.

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