A Custom Made Shearling Jacket

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This Custom made shearling jacket got finished just in time for the polar vortex we are now experiencing in NYC.  It got started kinda late… the client came to us in October,  and it took some time to locate the shearling he wanted.  See, the way that the leather market works, at our level, making one-of-a-kind products, means that we are at the mercy of what our vendors choose to bring into the country, or have made here. Not Shearling – this is tanned & finished in Europe. So by October, most of the really in-demand skins are out of stock.

The minimums required to order a very specific skin can range anywhere from 500 square feet (if you are lucky) to 2500 square feet or more.  Not to mention the lead time involved.

Since we are not working in anywhere near the quantities needed, we have to rely on what our vendors bring in.  And we do not get the financial benefit of purchasing in quantity.  This is the nature of custom made, and a large part of why the prices are what they are.

So to order a shearling in October is a little late in the game especially if you have a very specific finish in mind, which was the problem we ran into here, since all the really nice leather finished shearlings were long gone.

European Tanneries take the month of August off, and once they come back in September it takes on average 8 weeks for anything new to be shipped to our vendors. These goods are usually for sampling for styles that will ship to stores the next August, Sept & Oct. That’s how the schedule works at this point.

Thanks to my clients persistence and luck in timing we walked into the vendor the day these goods arrived!  The demand for this finish is high, if we’d been a day later, we’d have missed them completely!  That’s how hard it can be to source certain items when you are not purchasing large quantities. So we got the skins December 1.  He got his jacket January 8.  Record time considering!

BTB, this jacket required almost 64 square feet of these goods for a size 44. (And he also got a hat out of the scraps! )  The skins are tiny, 3 sft to 4.5 sqft each.  Almost every cut section takes a whole skin when they are this small.  Footage adds up quickly.  And Shearling is one of the most expensive, non-exotic, leathers.