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Italian textile magnate, Loro Piana, said that his company was all about seeking quality materials. It is self evident that quality materials provide a sturdy and durable construction. Part of what we do, and frankly the fun part of it all, is understanding what materials went into the manufacture of these items. We are compelled to look more closely at the original artifacts, which oftentimes establishes a comparison in the context of modern applications.
In the development of any product, there is always a balance of raw materials and cost. In recreating any vintage style, researching the original artifact, the construction, and end use are part and parcel in the choice of materials, both present and in the past. Our initial development and prototypes were based upon what has been on the market, both in research and finished product. We offered canvas and leather versions, but also full leather ones. In searching period advertisements dating from the 1870's and 80's, a material based tiered pricing structure was clearly offered. They not only offered canvas and leather as we do, but, much to our surprise, the highest tier, and the choicest material, was kangaroo. We were even more surprised to find that the finest tanning of kangaroo hides was done, of all places, in Newark NJ.
I think that we all fall under the assumption that many 19th century materials have spun off into the stratosphere of time, being too expensive to produce, and being replaced by more durable engineered materials. Despite the availability of these new technologies, we were surprised to find that LL Bean offers boots made of kangaroo leather. What is interesting is that LL Bean highlights the very same properties of kangaroo leather that were listed by baseball shoe companies 140 years earlier.
|This article was published on Tuesday 28 December, 2021.|
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