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Why is a leather jacket so expensive?

Image displays a man wearing a leather jacket under studio lights. the jacket has quilted shoulders and is a classic asymmetric fit. The image is shot in black and white.

The classic leather biker jacket style has been around for many years and without a doubt the question ‘Why is this leather jacket so expensive?” has probably popped into shoppers minds countless times. While the answer “Because it’s leather?” is indeed correct and possibly the most obvious thing that has been uttered back, it’s important to know that why this staple item has a high price point isn’t just about the fact that it’s made from leather.

What the Barneys team look for in a good quality jacket

One of the biggest selling points of a leather jacket is of course the quality of the leather. The skin plays a huge part in this and you can tell difference straight away between a bad quality jacket and a good quality jacket purely based on how it feels. There is a variety of choices in terms of quality, but the most commonly used is sheepskin. A good quality jacket will feel thick and slightly textured and will have a more natural aesthetic about it. A bad quality jacket may feel more synthetic and slightly stiffer. The reason for this is that the skin may have a lot of scarring so it will be sanded down and may be sprayed with extra dyes and treatments to cover up the scarring and blemishes. These top coatings can give ‘plastic-like’ appearance if too heavily finished.

When a sample for Barneys Originals arrives into the business, not only is the quality carefully examined, but also the colour, stitching, hardware, lining, fit and every single component of the jacket is closely analysed to ensure it is an item of high quality.

Image displays a man sat in a studio opening his leather jacket to expose the garment lining. The image is shot in black and white.

Transitional styling

Firstly, as I have mentioned in my previous blog post, a leather jacket is an investment and a garment of longevity, made to last you years if treated well of course. For me, a leather jacket is a staple wardrobe item and transitions well if worn and styled correctly. It is an extremely timeless and versatile piece and because it’s so distinctive it can change the look of an entire outfit. In the autumn/winter I wear mine underneath my puffer jacket, my faux fur coat or pretty much any thicker outwear garments as it makes the perfect under layering piece and adds that extra bit of warmth. In the spring it fits perfectly over a printed dress with biker boots to create a grungier ensemble. Even in the summer when there’s a cool breeze it works extremely well as layer for the evening – the only time I can really picture myself being absolutely against wearing my leather jacket is on a hot sunny day, which let’s face it doesn’t happen very often in England!

Your leather jacket tells a story

When you invest in a leather jacket it’s not just about buying a jacket, it’s about the concept and what the style stands for. What you pay for is the symbolism and culture and behind this iconic garment. I believe that as soon as someone places one onto their body, it gives them that tough, edgy cool value and completely alters the look of an outfit.

Not only is it beautifully made, but it also holds a unique heritage. These timeless pieces have been around since the early 1900s, starting out as a garment of practicality for the military and developing over time to a cool, iconic fashion staple. Adopted by the rock n roll, punk and biker culture, it’s safe to say that when I put on my leather jacket, I get a sense of competence and I instantly feel more (dare I say it) badass!

The main points to remember when you’re trying to justify your investment is that it is an iconic, transitional garment made to last you years to come. How you wear it is entirely up to you!

If you have any queries about the qualities of our leather jackets, feel free to contact one of the friendly faces on the Barneys Originals team.


About Jennifer Elliot

Jennifer is our resident designer and all round trend expert. As a design graduate and industry boffin, she’ll be acting as our resident blog stylist; giving you the scoop on new season styles and behind the scenes insights from Barneys HQ.