before the jeans were cut
shading of the leather
that is normal in this leather
a tawny wild cat
This honey-gold pair of tattooed leather jeans
is the second we’ve created for a client who never owned a pair of leather jeans before he found us.
I was very pleasantly surprised to get a request for jeans in a lighter shade of leather. Since the most requested colors are invariably black & brown, working in color is a nice change.
When I get requests for pants in lighter colors, they are usually suede, but this is a very different look from what I knew this client was going for. Once the skin was chosen, I suggested ‘milling’ this honey gold leather to bring out its natural beauty even more.
Milling leather is an important (and highly technical) part of the tanning process. But for our purposes here, it’s simply tumbling the leather to soften it up and bring out the grain.
You can do it at home if you have a dryer that has a No Heat Mode – and wrap some clean sneakers in a clean, un-dyed cloth bag to speed it along a bit. The dryer must be clean before you start, but it’s a helpful way to subtly soften up and hasten a more worn look to certain leathers. The effect is gentle – however, it won’t work on just any leather and should never be attempted with any patent finish…
‘Milling’ these skins brought out a lot of marbling in this lighter-colored cowhide, adding texture to both the grain and the color as well as light, natural-looking wear. All of this will generally happen over time as you wear your leather jeans – this just speeds it along a little.
Milling won’t work for all skins, but is very suitable for this particular skin which is called ‘Royce’. Our client’s first pair, which is in a cognac shade of Royce, was not milled. You can see the difference pretty clearly. Royce cowhide normally has a smooth semi-matte finish. Without milling, a garment in Royce will remain pretty smooth during its lifetime, while the sheen will soften up a bit.
My client wanted a second ‘tattoo’ design and I initially suggested a low contrast ‘tattoo’ thinking I might use a mid-tone brown. Maybe even the cognac shade I made his original pants in. As I worked on the design and did a couple of tests, I kept going lighter. My gut just went that way – I kept envisioning a tawny wild cat for these tattooed leather jeans. I wanted that movement and the feeling of subtle markings or stripes, rendered in a tattoo inlay.
I create the designs specifically for each commission when I get a tattoo (or any) project. First, the artwork is rendered by hand to fit each specific piece and location it is meant for. Then templates are hand-cut, and test panels are created to play with design, color and stitching options. It’s a series of careful choices and steps that makes this particular technique uniquely special and personal. Clients usually prefer that I work out all the details on appliqué and inlay designs once they have provided their color preferences and the feeling they are aiming for.
My client is thrilled with the way these leather jeans came out and I am too.
Since every pair of our leather jeans are 100% custom made, prices vary according to style, detailing, leather choice etc. More on the Process.