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Patent Leather: Evolution since 1818

In the 90's, and especially towards the late 90's, patent leather became the biggest trend in fashion. You could see it in runways, the street and pretty much everywhere. Everyone owned something with patent leather but to be honest, we didn't know exactly what patent was and I think the millennial's generation didn't know either. We didn't even know it was leather because it looked like cheap shiny plastic. Then, We heard it was actually leather and We thought "would people actually buy this?" and then it became one of the biggest trends of that decade.

what exactly is patent leather?

Patent leather is just leather with a glossy and shiny finishing. This type of leather usually has more of a formal wear purpose as unbelievable as it is. So, who do we have to thank for this crazy idea you might wonder right? the inventor was Seth Boyden from Newark, New Jersey in the USA. Sometime in 1818, he had too much time on his hands and thought about putting lacquer coating to a piece of leather using a type of oil called linseed oil. What we know from history is that this guy applied layer after layer of this oil onto the leather creating eventually this shiny finishing on it. However, patent leather these days use a plastic coating. If you are a proud owner of a leather bag, leather shoes, leather accessories or leather furniture then you understand how difficult and delicate it is to clean it. We all know the rules, don't spill water or oil or anything on them because the stain will remain, but for patent bags, or shoes, for example, it's as simple as using a damp cloth and removing whatever you had spilled on them.

How to clean patent leather?

  • For a patent leather bags or shoes, you can you can clean out dirt by using a damp cloth, and using a mild soap if the dirt is really that stubborn.
  • If water is spilled on your patent leather bag, shoes or furniture, there's no problem because patent leather is waterproof. Just use a cloth if is needed.
  • For scratches or marks on the coating, you can use a patent leather cleaner. If is more serious like cracks on the coating then replacement is probably the best option.

The good and the bad about patent leather

The Good:

Patent leather is on trend this season, its maintenance is fairly easy and you can find it and almost anything you can think of, bags, shoes, accessories and even furniture.

The Bad:

The one really bad thing about patent leather is that it will gradually lose its shininess after being worn for a long time but it will remain smooth. Would you get on this trend now that you know what patent leather is? let us know in the comments.