One of the earliest types of fabric that humans have clothed themselves in is leather.
Loved for its texture, appearance, and durability, leather has been a staple of fashion for centuries.
If you’re out shopping for a new jacket, then you may have noticed that the average price of a leather jacket ranges anywhere from $300 to $2,000.
Here are 10 reasons leather jackets are expensive.
Why Are Leather Jackets So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
One of the main reasons that leather jackets are so expensive is that they’re handcrafted.
You can usually tell the difference between a high-quality leather jacket and a standard leather jacket by its stitching.
Mass-produced leather jackets go through a factory where machines do most of the sewing.
The result is a jacket that’s passable but not particularly special.
The quality also isn’t usually ideal.
Expensive leather jackets, on the other hand, have incredible stitching.
That’s because each one is carefully made by hand.
Leather jacket manufacturers hire seamstresses who have experience working with leather.
Sewing leather is far different than sewing with other types of fabric.
It’s a lot tougher to work with and requires experience and understanding of certain tools.
Not just any worker is going to be able to put together a leather jacket perfectly.
It takes an expert craftsperson to do it.
That means they need higher wages than other seamstresses.
Otherwise, they’ll go work for a company that will pay them better.
Meanwhile, the original company is bereft of high-quality workers to make high-quality jackets.
Handcrafting leather jackets also takes a lot of time.
It can take at least a week to finish a single jacket.
That’s a lot of labor and time spent on a single product.
To make that product worth it, the manufacturer has to sell it at a high cost.
Leather jackets are expensive because the high-quality ones are usually handcrafted.
2. High-Quality Accessories
When designing a leather jacket, it isn’t the style or the type of leather that are the only things that matter.
The choices of buttons and zippers also matter.
Accessories for a leather jacket usually include pockets, zippers, buttons, and any other little details that make it stand apart from others.
These additional accessories can add to the price of a jacket because they’re usually high-quality.
Leather jackets last for a long time.
Their buttons and zippers have to last a long time, too.
Since buttons and zippers are usually the weakest points of any piece of clothing, manufacturers end up spending a lot of money on the best materials.
They need to ensure that the buttons remain attached to the jacket for years down the line.
They need to make sure that the zippers don’t break or pull away from the teeth.
Because of this, they’ll use expensive materials to make durable accessories.
Those accessories are also handcrafted and sewn onto the jacket by hand.
The more accessories that a jacket has, the more expensive it’s going to be since it requires more time to finish.
Accessories add to the price of a leather jacket because it adds to the cost of production.
If you want a leather jacket that uses carbon fiber buttons or zippers, for example, then you can expect to pay a lot of money.
Another reason that leather jackets are expensive is marketing costs.
Although leather jackets are a luxury item, a large number of companies are all trying to sell them.
Because competition is so fierce, each company ends up spending a lot of money on its marketing.
Companies tend to use the same marketing tactics to entice people to buy their products.
Since leather jackets are luxurious, their ads often depict luxurious settings.
They also invest heavily into acquiring talented individuals to wear their jackets in their commercials.
It’s not uncommon to see musicians, film stars, and even athletes wearing leather jackets in commercials.
Not unlike perfume or cologne commercials, leather jackets are trying to sell a certain idea or image to the public.
They want you to associate yourself with the shown celebrity in their commercials.
If you buy their leather jacket, then you’re as cool or as suave as that celebrity.
These types of commercials or marketing strategies don’t come cheap.
They have to fly their cast and crew to these luxurious landscapes which can be pricey in itself.
Then there are all the costs associated with filming a commercial to deal with.
The biggest cost is hiring a celebrity to wear their brand and appear in the commercial.
If they want their line of jackets to stand out from the competition, then they need to hire a specific celebrity that they think matches the brand.
That particular celebrity might ask for a lot of money to do the commercial.
To cover the cost, which usually ends up being a series of costs since the celebrity usually has a contract that extends over a few months, if not years, the company has to generate enough of a profit.
To ensure that happens, they have high prices on their jackets.
The gamble is that they believe by hiring a celebrity, more people will be willing to buy their jackets which will, in turn, generate more profit.
Leather jackets are expensive because of their marketing costs.
4. Brand Name
There’s no question that the brand name also plays a major role in the price of the leather jacket.
You can have two leather jackets of the same, but if one carries a well-known brand name, then you can be sure that it will also carry the higher price.
Brands spend a lot of time and money building their reputations.
When it comes to leather jacket brand names, they want their names associated with the luxury industry.
That means they tend to spend a lot of money on the best materials to make the best jackets.
They also spend a lot of money on their customer service to ensure their customers receive the kind of care they deserve.
In return, the brand builds a reputation for selling high-quality products and offering excellent customer service.
This allows them to paint their company in a certain light that can attract more customers to their products in the future.
With enough time, people trust the brand and are willing to pay more for a product with that name associated with it because they know it means a quality product.
In reality, there isn’t much separating that jacket from another jacket from a lesser-known brand.
They likely use the same materials, offer the same care, and may even have similar designs for their jackets.
The difference is that one has had a better go at building their brand name than the other.
As a result, they can increase their price because of the reputation that the brand has generated.
Leather jackets are expensive when it comes to certain brands because you’re paying for the brand name as much as you are the jacket.
5. Designer Labels
On the other side of branding is designer labels.
These also add to the cost of a leather jacket because people tend to be willing to pay more for a jacket if it comes from a well-known designer.
One such example is Tom Ford.
Although he has a business of the same name, his designs for leather jackets are highly coveted among celebrities.
He makes several different designs of leather jackets all with a modern touch.
One reason why many celebrities prefer to buy their leather jackets from Tom Ford is that they know he emphasizes using the best materials possible to make his clothes.
There are other designers out there, too, who try to push designs and ideas when it comes to leather jackets.
For big-name designers, their reputations alone can increase the price of a leather jacket.
Even if a company sells many different types of leather jackets, you can be sure that any that has a designer label on it is going to be more expensive.
That’s because they’re banking on the fact that people are going to go for a jacket if it has a designer’s name attached to it more than one that doesn’t.
Leather jackets are expensive if they come with a designer label on them.
6. Cowhide Leather
Several different types of leather can be used to make a leather jacket.
The type of leather used can influence its price.
One of the most common types of leather is cowhide leather.
Thanks to its availability, jackets made of cowhide leather tend to be on the cheaper side.
That said, cowhide leather jackets are still quite expensive.
That’s because cowhide leather has several beneficial properties to it.
It’s thick and durable, which allows the leather jacket to last for a long time.
One of the main reasons that many bikers end up buying cowhide leather jackets is that they’re also water-resistant and dirt-resistant.
It’s tough to ruin them and tough to get them dirty.
This makes them ideal for people who are outside frequently and are subject to sudden downpours or clouds of dust.
Cowhide leather is expensive because although cows are widely available, it takes a lot of processing to get the leather from its hide.
The cow first has to be in excellent health.
If its hide isn’t healthy, then it isn’t going to offer great leather.
Because of this, ranchers have to spend a decent amount of money keeping their cows in good health.
High-quality food, clean stalls, and plenty of room to graze and exercise cost money.
Slaughtering the animals and harvesting the leather are also expensive costs.
All these costs add up to the price of the leather that the manufacturer pays, then processes, to make a leather jacket.
Leather jackets that use cowhide leather are on the cheaper end of jackets, but they’re still quite expensive due to the associated costs of raising and slaughtering the cow.
7. Bison Leather
Another popular choice of leather to make leather jackets with is bison leather.
In many ways, bison leather is similar to cowhide leather.
It has the same durability and weather resistance that make it ideal for many people.
However, the main difference is that bison leather comes with a pebbled appearance.
Its skin has a unique texture to it that designers love to use to make rugged leather jackets.
This type of leather has a niche market which already makes it expensive.
Bison leather is also expensive on its own because there aren’t as many bison in the world as there are cows.
Bison are also larger and require more time to grow before they’re ready for harvesting.
That means more food and other resources go into the bison, which costs money.
Since there are fewer bison, there are fewer pieces of leather to go around.
That creates a limited supply when demand for its particular texture is high.
As a result, the price of bison leather increases.
The cost of producing leather jackets with bison leather also increases to cover their costs.
Bison leather jackets are expensive because they’re not as available and they offer a unique texture that designers can’t find anywhere else.
8. Goatskin Leather
Before goatskin leather became mainstream, it was primarily used in the US Navy and Air Force to make their G-1 and A-2 aviator jackets.
Goatskin leather has a few qualities that have made it popular but expensive to use.
It’s a lot lighter than cowhide leather which makes it ideal for accessories like gloves.
It’s also smooth, aside from a slight pebbling effect.
Despite its lightweight nature, goatskin leather is also extremely durable.
Because it once belonged to the military, fashion designers often like to design goatskin leather products similarly.
Its unique style has attracted many people to this type of leather jacket for years.
The fact that this type of leather is lighter also makes it appealing for those who live in hotter climates.
Goatskin leather is expensive because, just like the other types of animals, goats need resources to remain healthy.
There’s also a lot of demand for this type of leather since it’s used for jackets, gloves, and other types of clothing.
Leather jackets that use goatskin are expensive because of their reputation for excellence in the military and the associated costs of raising and harvesting goats.
9. Lambskin Leather
A final type of leather that often makes it expensive is lambskin leather.
Lambskin leather comes from young sheep that ranchers slaughter at a certain age.
This type of leather is typically used to make high-quality leather items like jackets, gloves, purses, and shoes.
The reason it’s popular is that it’s extremely soft.
It’s also thin and lightweight.
Many consider lambskin leather to be the softest type of leather.
As with the other types of leather, there are different grades of lambskin leather with different species offering better leather than others.
Those who offer the best leather tend to be smaller in number.
Since they’re rarer, there isn’t a lot of supply to meet the high demand for high-quality lambskin leather.
That makes purchasing lambskin leather expensive.
Lambs also need plenty of nutrition to keep their skin soft and durable.
The costs associated with raising lambs and slaughtering them influence the price of the leather.
To make a profit, manufacturers have to put a high price on their lambskin leather profits.
Lambskin leather jackets are expensive because the high-quality versions of this type of leather tend to be rare.
There’s no question that real leather jackets are a luxury fashion item.
While leather has been in use for centuries, the sheer amount of processing and money that goes into making leather products tends to push its price towards the expensive side of things.
When most people tend to shop for the cheapest clothing available, the high price of leather jackets puts it in the luxury category.
Their durability, style, and the brand name also put them firmly in that category.
Because they’re viewed as a luxury item, they inherently take on the luxury price tag.
Leather jackets aren’t meant for the masses.
They’re meant for those who have an eye for fashion and want to stand out from the crowd.
Because it’s a luxury good, leather jackets are expensive.
How To Save Money On Leather Jackets
If you want a good leather jacket, then you can expect to pay a high price for it.
However, there are a few ways that you can save some money on leather jackets.
Consider these tips to save money on your next leather jacket purchase.
1. Faux-Leather Variants
The easiest way to save money is to forgo leather jackets that use real leather.
You can save hundreds of dollars by buying a faux-leather jacket instead.
Faux-leather jackets use synthetic leather rather than leather that comes from animals.
They’re popular among people who want affordable clothing and those who don’t like the idea of wearing animal skin.
Since they’re made in factories and use synthetic materials, the cost of processing them is a lot cheaper.
This makes their price cheaper, too.
2. Thrift Stores
It’s rare to find a leather jacket in a thrift store thanks to its durability and value, but it is possible.
Take regular trips to your local thrift store and you might strike gold.
Some big-name brands also allow you to rent their leather jackets.
If you need the jacket for a specific occasion or just want to wear a leather jacket for a while, then you can always rent one.
Renting a leather jacket is far cheaper than buying a new one.
Leather jackets are a luxury clothing item and because of that, they have a luxury price tag.
Since they’re made of skin from different types of animals, they also have high production costs which influence the price.
Brand names and designer labels only drive up the price from there.
To save money, you can buy a faux-leather jacket, rent a jacket, or take a chance and look for secondhand jackets at your local thrift stores.