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KATHMANDU, Jan 10: Winter is the time when the thick sweaters and bulky jackets come out of your closets. It helps you fight the cold, but one might say that it kills your fashion sense during the season. But fashion is a statement you set for yourself, and you can choose to stay warm in style too. One of the things you can choose to wear is leather jackets, which will not only give you comfort but also keep you warm and in style.
Humans started wearing animal skin as a way to keep themselves warm. But now if you see the trend, people have been using leather not only for clothes, but also for wallets, belts, bags and shoes. Jackets, in particular, are a popular choice and from simple plain black one to fancy ones with studs and zippers, people are going crazy with the style and the demand is ever increasing.
There are many shops that sell leather products on retail with various options. But when you go to a store, you can’t always be sure that you find the one to your liking or the one that fits you, but you can always tailor it to your measurement as well as design, and walk in style. Prices of jackets might vary depending on the complication of the design. Different from the conventional black color, leather nowadays comes in different colors including beige, coffee, white, brown, grey, and red, among others. And depending on your need or use, like for work or travel, as well as preference, you can choose the leather by its color and also its thickness, and make it in your own design to compliment your body structure.
"I used to wear leather before. I stopped using it after it got torn, but now I want to wear leather again and customize it this time in a rather simple design that is comfortable, nothing too fancy," said Amrit Ojha, a social worker by profession and a customer at Rhino-The Leather Store, Durbar Marg. “I love the feel, the smell, and as a biker, the jacket is not only a style statement but also provides me with security. It is windproof and waterproof so it keeps me safe while riding my bike too.”
Like Rhino, there are other leather stores such as Human Fit Craft, Jamal and Latido Leathers, Jhamsikhel that deal with custom orders for leather products (individually and in bulk). They import leather (that has been processed, treated with different salts and ready to use) from tanneries of Pakistan and different parts of India. The leathers come from animals like sheep, buffalo and goats, with or without fur and in suede. The traders are importing more raw materials and finished goods than before as leather witnesses an increasing market during the winter time.
Leather has a specific feel to it. You can differentiate good leather with its smell, the feel of its texture and thickness. If you see the skin-fiber, it's a sign that it’s leather; synthetic leather will be plain in look and cheaper in price. Pure leather is durable and flexible and will also get wrinkles with time. Another way to find out if it is leather or not, is to burn the leather. Pure leather burns slowly in comparison to the synthetic ones. (However, it may not be a recommended way to test when you are a customer.)
Leather needs to be tended in a special way. You do not wash it like other fabrics. You either polish them or treat it with leather conditioner in washing machine to retain the look. But depending on the quality of the leather, there is a chance that the leather gets discolored and torn because of the wear-and-tear. In that case, you can go to stores that take orders and repair shops to mend it or get it sprayed, and wear them as good as new.
Many people do not prefer to wear leather jackets because they do not like the smell, some because they think it's expensive and others simply because they have never tried it before. But the loyal consumers say leather jackets can be one's style statement and are very comfy to wear. One donning leather products can give off a strong impression as it enhances their personality. People of all age groups and sexes have been wearing them, and the love for leather is coming back among Kathmanduties.
When we talk about leather products, in recent times, Latido Leathers is the name that resonates through one's mind. Latido takes a big chunk of credit for bringing leather jackets/products back to people’s attention. Its products have been loved by all and with high-profile personalities donning Latido jackets, it has created a buzz among the socialites as well as youngsters to opt for a more fashionable wear this winter. But not only winter, Latido has customers during the summer as well and sells products like bags, wallets, briefcases and jackets, mostly for bikers.
Latido was established in 2014 and Bilal Ahmed Shah looks after its operations with the help of his friend Saugat Rijal. It has been only three years, but Latido is guided by a history of more than 20 years, carried forward from Bilal’s father’s business. Bilal grew up wearing leather himself and is a big promoter of leather products. His efforts to take Latido to new heights and the word-of-mouth of happy customers have garnered Latido much recognition in the past year or two.
“Market of leather in Nepal is growing. There was a time when the market dropped with the influx of cheap, synthetic leather products. Where the consumers before were uninformed, now people go around looking for genuine products. But the business sure needs a lot patience as the market is unstable and inconsistent,” Bilal said.
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