From Practicality To Luxury : Brief History Of Suede Leather

Suede leather has been a fashion staple for decades, but its origins can be traced back thousands of years. The soft and supple material is now commonly used in the fashion industry for shoes, jackets, and accessories, but it wasn’t always so ubiquitous. In this article, we’ll explore the history and evolution of suede leather, from its earliest uses to its current status as a fashion staple.

Early Uses of Suede Leather

The use of leather can be traced back to ancient civilizations, where it was used for clothing, shoes, and even Armor. But it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that the process of tanning leather was perfected. During this time, tanners discovered that they could create a softer and more supple type of leather by using the underside of animal hides.

This type of leather was called “suede” because it was made from the “flesh” side of the hide. Suede leather was initially used for gloves and other small leather goods because of its softness and pliability. Its popularity grew in the 19th century when it was used to create luxury shoes and clothing.

Evolution of Suede Leather

Suede leather remained popular throughout the 20th century, but it wasn’t until the 1960’s and 1970’s that it became a true fashion staple. The rise of the hippie and bohemian subcultures led to an increased interest in natural materials, and suede leather fit the bill perfectly. The soft texture and natural look of suede made it an ideal material for clothing and accessories that embodied the free-spirited nature of the era.

During this time, suede leather was used to create everything from fringed jackets and skirts to boots and handbags. Designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Halston, and Ralph Lauren incorporated suede into their collections, cementing its status as a fashion staple.

In the decades that followed, suede leather remained popular in the fashion industry. It was often used to create outerwear, such as jackets and coats, but it also made its way into accessories such as handbags and shoes. Suede was also often used as an accent material, such as in the lining of a leather jacket or the trim of a pair of boots.

Suede Leather Today

Today, suede leather is as popular as ever. It can be found in a wide range of clothing and accessories, from shoes and jackets to handbags and hats. One of the reasons for its enduring popularity is its versatility. Suede can be dressed up or down, making it suitable for a wide range of occasions.

But while suede leather may be a fashion staple, it’s important to remember that it’s also a delicate material. Suede is prone to staining and can be difficult to clean. It’s important to take proper care of suede items to ensure they remain in good condition. This means avoiding exposure to water and moisture, and using specialized suede cleaners and protectants to keep the material looking its best.


Suede leather has come a long way since its early days as a material for gloves and small leather goods. From its roots in ancient civilizations to its status as a fashion staple, suede has been embraced by designers and consumers alike. Its soft texture and natural look make it a popular choice for a wide range of clothing and accessories. While suede may require a bit more care and attention than other materials, it’s a worthwhile investment for anyone looking to add a touch of luxury to their wardrobe.

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