Posted on

Unique Leather- The Exotic Leather

Looking at this universe, then there are a lot of species out there and one of them is indeed mammals. Specifically talking about mammals, then we have at least over 5000 species of just mammals which also means that there are a lot of animal hides which can be used in creating some real amazing exotic and general leather items. Coming to a realistic factor, then we cannot actually get our hands on all the 5000 mammal species, but we do have around 50 that we can consider.

Leather is a common type of fabric which is highly used in creating a lot of apparel, upholstery, and interior décor. The leather which is generally used actually comes as a byproduct of the dairy and meat industry.

Cows, water buffalo, goats, and pigs’ hides are used to make leather, but they are also bought to make by-products. What precisely is exotic leather then? Leather is made from the skins of animals, primarily reptiles, that are only hunted for their hides. as opposed to animals that have already been killed for food.

History Of Exotic Leather

Animal hides which do not originate from usual animals like cattle come under the category of exotic leather. There are different types of exotic leather out there but some of them do have a very unique natural texture.

Exotic Leather Or Usual Leather?

When we talk about leather, then there is no actual standard to conclude which leather is better because some leather has a soft and shiny texture whereas some come with matte texture. Apart from the texture we also have the option of some really amazing colors which can range from rough to slimy.

The meat industry has a lot of animals and at least 90% of it has cattle which range from animals like goats, cows, sheep, and many more. The byproduct coming from this industry is close enough to fulfill the need of leather. Therefore, this is where exotic leather comes into the picture and creates that hype and attractiveness.

In fact, improvements have been made recently to turn vinyl leatherette into man-made leather. Exotic leather may or may not be superior to conventional leather in terms of toughness, quality, or durability. Exotic leathers differ from regular leathers because of their highly prized color, appearance, and texture.

There are some species that are exceedingly uncommon, but the leather made from their hides is not referred to as exotic. These creatures include the hides of deer, water buffalo, beavers, reindeer, and even elves.

What Can We Use An Exotic Leather For?

When we look at exotic leather, then firstly because of the rare exotic nature it comes with corresponds with the price it can be bought for which is obviously on the higher side as compared to common leather. The added price tag actually makes a lot of people wonder if this leather is actually worth it. Initially, a lot of people actually just buy it because of the unique appearance and feel it comes with.

Stingray, for instance, is unlike any other material you will encounter in terms of appearance and feel. Simply put, it is completely original, which makes it highly fashionable. It is particularly flexible since it can be sanded to make it very soft and workable or left unsanded to create an armored skin that will snap your needle as you try to stitch it. Also, it possesses all the advantages of high-quality cowhide leather. Not only can it match cowhide’s durability, but some exotic leathers can even outperform it somewhat. You can look at some stingray belts here to see for yourself.

For sure you can find some exotic leather apparel which is made from an elephant ear which does makes it very unique.

Certain advantages and qualities differ from one exotic leather to the next. You can only imagine how strong and resilient elephant leather is, for instance. They are named pachyderms for a reason (pachyderm meaning thick skin), yet it is by no means common.

One of my particular favorites is hair on buffalo leather, sometimes known as woollies because I reside in a cold climate. You might never experience chilly weather again if you wear garments made of buffalo leather. Because of the harsh wind and snow in the western plains, their skin and hair are as thick as they come. It can shield us from blizzards and wind just as effectively.

Trends In Exotic Leather

The statement by Chanel that it will stop using exotic skins—making it the biggest luxury brand in the sector to do so—was a significant recent development in the business. They cited the growing difficulty in locating ethically sourced items to utilize in their collections as justification for this limitation. The majority of brands would rather find a moral way to obtain the material than forbid exotic skins from being used in their products.

This includes a rise in investment in the factories or farms where their skins are sourced. Balenciaga, for instance, invests in a python farm in Thailand to get its hides, and Hermes runs its own facility for breeding reptiles. Even though there is a constant drive to replace exotic skins with alternatives, this trend is one that is expected to last for a very long time.

Different Types Of Exotic Leather

There are different types of exotic leather that we all are aware of but let us get into the details of major exotic leathers.

United States Alligator Leather

Alligator leather has a scaly appearance and a tougher hide than cowhide, but it is equally durable. Beautiful and extremely flexible, alligator belly leather is easy to remove. The alligator’s gullet is said to be the finest place to obtain the softest hides. Alligator leather is available in a wide range of hues and finishes. Often, wallets are made of alligator leather.

Leather Python

There are two different kinds of python leather that can be obtained from snakes. The reticulated python is the name of one, and Karung snake is the name of the other. Both hides are smooth to the touch and have a scaling pattern. The leather may or may not be visible, depending on where it is extracted.

One that was removed from the belly or back, for instance, has a diamond-like pattern. They are darker as well. They can be found in white or brown hides. Karung hides have delicate scales and are two-toned. Karung, in contrast, is more malleable and beiger in hue.

Elephant Leather

Although some people believe elephant leather to be illegal, leather is currently legal in all respects. Elephant hide is one of the hardest and most flexible to crack, thus it seems to sense that it has so many eyes. Elephant leather has a little dense and rough texture. Even creases could be present on it. It comes in molten black and earthy tones for the color.

Snakeskin Leather

The leather is often thin, flexible, and fragile and is derived from sea snakes that have been raised commercially. When a snake sheds its dead skin, the extremely specific grain and scales on its skin shield it from the environment. The age of the snake and the location of the skin-cutting determine the size of the scales. After tanning, snakeskin may appear dry, and in order to obtain skin that is evenly toned, the natural color pattern is typically bleached.

Hippo Leather

One of the softer hides you may get is hippo leather. Due to the amount of time, it spends in the water, it has a delicate, peach-like feel. Hippo leather can easily repel water and is waterproof like cowhide. Hippo leather is available in jet black and brown colors. The pricing of this leather is somewhat expensive.

Ostrich Leather

Ostrich leather has a distinct feel. The leather’s well-known quill bumps are evenly distributed across the surface and are evenly spaced apart. You’ll enjoy the way the hide feels on your hands in particular. The five primary colors of ostrich leather are pure white, blue, tan, brown, and black. One of the nicest types of leather can be taken from an ostrich’s knees. In fact, due to its strength and high quality, it is frequently compared to dinosaur leather. But this area also has a lizard-like pattern on its scaling.

Leopard Leather

The giraffe’s skin’s block prints are removed during the tanning process. They have a thick look and are strong. Grey and tan hues of giraffe leather are available and are employed in sophisticated items.


The Superman of exotic leathers, stingray is virtually impervious to scuffs, scratches, and occasionally even punctures. Leather is difficult to tear because, in contrast to other materials, its fibers run unevenly. Stingray is also naturally water resistant and does not stain. However, the small bone-like scales and extremely stiff skin make it incredibly difficult to cut or sew into and even shatter needles. Stingray accessory production takes substantially longer because of the constrained size of the leather panels.

Difference Between Real Leather And Exotic Leather

Exotic leather is one of the various varieties and variations of leather that may be discovered. Genuine leather will be flexible and supple to the touch. It has an innate warmth and an oaky smell, and it feels gritty. The majority of genuine leather—cowhide, sheepskin, calfskin, etc.—comes from cattle. There can also be more opulent choices available. Exotic leather from special animal hides and skins, such as those from elephants, alligators, pythons, etc., can be found in this category.

Difference Between Bison And Cowhide Leather

Given that the animal species is practically endangered, bison leather is one of the rarest and most unique leathers available. Bison leather is strong and durable. Bison leather doesn’t stretch very much, which is its only flaw. Bison leather is thicker and more robust than cowhide in comparison.

Disadvantage Of Exotic Leather

There are numerous different kinds of animal leather, and the majority of them are made from cowhide. Yet, you can produce exotic leather products like exotic leather wallets, leather jackets, belts, and watch straps from unusual leather or exotic hides. But there is a problem with some varieties of exotic leather. Unsustainable exotic animal skins include alligator leather skin. Groundwater and agricultural habitat are primarily affected by the trash, flesh, and other body parts that are produced by tanneries.

Relation Of Exotic Leather And Their Sustainability

There are a large number of exotic leather varieties, some of which are detrimental to the sustainability of the environment. Fish leather should therefore be used first when using exotic leather, and then crocodile and snake hides should only be used as a last resort. Fish leather is much more advantageous and even fantastic for fishing communities, despite the fact that it has its own set of drawbacks.

Final Word

In order to sum up this discussion, exotic leather is pricey and comes from exotic animals. It frequently has a matte finish and a slimy appearance. Moreover, some of them have scales. The most popular items made from exotic leather include wallets, belts, jackets, and watch straps.