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Preparing your leather jacket for donation

There comes a time in every leather collector’s life when it’s time to upgrade. So what do you do with your old beloved leather jacket?

In the spirit of Secondhand September, it’s time to rethink the way we part ways with our well-loved leather jackets. Rather than letting them languish in the back of our closets forevermore, why not give these timeless pieces a new home and contribute to a more sustainable fashion future? Leather jackets, in particular, make excellent candidates for resale or donation, thanks to their durability and timeless appeal.

We like to say that our best contribution to a more forgiving and sustainable fashion industry is to create a product that stands the test of time. One leather jacket should reduce your need to repurchase another piece of daily outerwear for at least a year or two. Realistically, we know some people get ready to move on a little sooner that advised – no judgement – but perhaps you can retain a little positive karma by donating your leather jacket and giving it a new lease of life?


Preparing your leather jacket for resale or donation:

Clean and condition:
Before passing on your leather jacket, give it a little TLC. Clean any dirt or stains using a leather cleaner or a dry cloth. Don’t be tempted to use a wet cloth – water can damage the textural integrity of leather. Not only that, but letting water embed into Follow this with a quality leather conditioner to restore its luster and suppleness. This step not only enhances its appearance but also ensures that the jacket stays in great condition for its next owner.

Inspect for damage:
Carefully examine your leather jacket for any tears, loose seams, or hardware issues. If you find any damage, consider getting it repaired. Many leather repair shops can work wonders, restoring your jacket to its former glory. In fact, they might do such a good job that you decide the keep it for another year or two!

1. Tears and Holes:

  • Issue: Tears, holes, or punctures in the leather can be unsightly and compromise the jacket’s integrity.
  • Solution: Depending on the size and location of the damage, you have a few options. For minor tears or small holes, you can use a leather repair kit, which typically includes patches and adhesive. For more significant damage, especially in high-visibility areas, it’s best to consult a professional leather repair shop. They can expertly mend and patch the leather, often leaving little to no visible trace of the damage.

2. Loose Seams and Stitching:

  • Issue: Over time, the stitching on a leather jacket may become loose or start to unravel, leading to weaker seams.
  • Solution: Tightening loose seams can often be done with a simple needle and thread if you have basic sewing skills. Reinforce the stitching by sewing over the existing thread pattern. However, if the damage is extensive or you’re unsure about your sewing abilities, taking it to a professional is advisable. Leather repair specialists have the expertise and equipment to re-stitch seams securely.

3. Scuffs and Scratches:

  • Issue: Everyday wear and tear can result in scuffs and scratches on the leather surface.
  • Solution: Minor scuffs can often be buffed out with a soft cloth or a leather conditioner that has mild abrasives. For deeper scratches, consider using a leather repair kit with color-matched filler. Apply the filler, smooth it out, and allow it to dry before conditioning the leather to blend it in.

4. Fading or Discoloration:

  • Issue: Exposure to sunlight or moisture can cause leather to fade or change color over time.
  • Solution: While it’s challenging to completely reverse discoloration, you can improve the jacket’s appearance. Applying a leather conditioner or cream can help moisturize the leather and restore some of its original color and luster. However, for more severe cases, you might want to consult a professional leather dyeing service to re-color the jacket.

5. Hardware Issues:

  • Issue: The zippers, snaps, or buttons on your leather jacket may become faulty or tarnished.
  • Solution: If it’s a minor issue like a loose button, you can often reattach it with a needle and thread. For tarnished or non-functional hardware, you might need to replace them. Finding replacement hardware that matches your jacket’s style can breathe new life into it. Local tailor shops or leather repair professionals can assist with hardware replacement.

6. Lining Tears:

  • Issue: The lining inside the jacket can wear out, tear, or develop holes.
  • Solution: A tailor or leather repair specialist can replace the lining. They will carefully remove the damaged lining and sew in a new one, ensuring the jacket looks and feels as good as new.

When in doubt, it’s often worth consulting a professional leather repair service. They have the expertise and tools to assess the extent of the damage and provide tailored solutions to restore your leather jacket to its former glory. Investing in these repairs not only extends the life of your jacket but also reduces waste and contributes to a more sustainable approach to fashion.

Remove any personal items from the jacket’s pockets, such as receipts, tissues, or loose change. This may seem like an obvious point, but our internal returns processing team would beg to differ! Make sure the jacket is free from any personal belongings before passing it on. This includes security elements such as name tags and lost item tiles.


Why donate your old leather jacket?

Image shows a man browsing the rails at a secondhand vintage store. He wears a leather jacket to check the size of the garment before purchasing.Support worthwhile causes:
Donating your leather jacket to a charity or vintage store can directly benefit those in need. Many organisations use the proceeds from sales to support various social causes, from feeding the hungry to funding medical research. Your donation can make a real difference.

Promote upcycled fashion:
Choosing to give your leather jacket a second life aligns with the principles of sustainable fashion. Rather than perpetuating the cycle of fast fashion and disposable clothing, you’re promoting the idea of investing in quality pieces that can be worn and cherished for longer.

Extend the lifespan of your clothes:
Leather is a durable material that can withstand the test of time. By passing on your leather jacket, you’re extending its lifespan and reducing the demand for new leather production, which can be resource-intensive.


Finding the perfect secondhand leather jacket

Well, it would be a little rude of us to presume you’d come straight back to us for a fresh leather jacket – and slightly ironic given the subject matter. Secondhand shopping has never been so popular, whether you’re a Depop scroller or charity shop veteran. It’s a obvious choice for fashion conscious shoppers, but due to the recent shift in popularity you’ll have to search even further to find the real gems. So if you’re looking for the very best secondhand leather jacket among all the chaos – here are our top tips to assist your hunt:

  • Check the hardware: Inspect the zippers, buttons, snaps, and other hardware elements. Ensure they are functional and not corroded. It’s a quick job to fix them, but you’ll need to know what you’re dealing with before you purchase. One thing in particular is to look out for build up of leather conditioner or waxing coating, which may have migrated from the leather to the zippers. This is very common and something we’ve seen time after time. People think it is a bigger issue than it is and wax coating, no matter how bad it looks, can be easily removed with a little TLC.
  • Odors: Look, I know the last thing you want to do at a secondhand shop is to give the clothes a wiff – but the smell of a secondhand leather jacket can be very telling. Used leather should have a natural, earthy scent. Strong, unpleasant odors might be challenging to remove and could indicate the jacket has not been well cared for.If the item smells like perfume, this could indicate that it has been sprayed directly onto the skin. We advise against this as any moisture can mess with the textural integrity of leather. That said, perfume can easily become trapped within the crevices and pours of leather. It would take a very long time to air out a jacket with this issue, so if you’re not a fan of the offending perfume we would recommend avoiding such garments.Be aware of any damp smells. This could be hiding the fact that the jacket has been kept in a cold location. Jackets of this nature may have molding lining material, so turn the jacket inside out and have a good look.
  • Age & Patina: Some people prefer the character that older leather jackets develop over time, known as a patina. Let us be clear, this comes down to personal preference. There is no quick way to look at the wrinkles of a leather jacket and judge what sort of life it has lived.
  • Brand & label: A well known brand doesn’t always reflect lasting craftsmanship. Whilst we love finding hidden designer gems secondhand – we recommend applying the same scrutiny to any garment, regardless of brand name.

2 thoughts on “Preparing your leather jacket for donation

  1. Terry matthews says:

    I have been lucky enough to be given one of your second hand jackets brought from hospicare. I need advise please as there are scuff marks on the back where the material is flaking off. I think it is a faux jacket not leather. Could you tell me how best to treat this. Many thanks Mrs Terry Matthews

    1. Barneys Originals says:

      Hi Terry,

      Feel free to email us some images and we’ll certainly to take a closer look. If the jacket is faux leather, the unfortunate truth is that it won’t be as hardy and long lasting as a real leather version. With time, faux leather will lose it’s adhesive and begin to pull away from the backing. This happens faster is the item comes into contact with moisture. However, if you send us an email directly with some images of your second hand item I will certainly get the development team to take a look at it and see if they have some pearls of wisdom for you.

      Many thanks,
      Team Barneys

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