Lederhosen: Material


Figure 1.--This boy in 1985 wears lederhosen that had the shiny finish--glattleder.

Proper lederhosen were of course made of leather. Some short pants with lederhosen styling have been made with other materials, but real lederhosen are made of leather. The German word comes from "leder" meaning leather and "hosen" meaning pants. HBC has very little information about the leather used for lederhosen. We have noticed two major types. There are two types of leather: 1) glattleder (vollrind): smooth finished leather and 2) rindkernvelour (raw inner side of leather), also called suede in English. The animal the leather is made of varies: cow, deer etc. This is a topic we will persue in greater detail. We do not know many basic facts about the two types such as popularity, conventions, practicality, chrnology, and other trends. The true traditional Lederhosen, however, were primarally made of chamois leather until about World War II when Lederhosen increased in popularity and leather had to be used to meet demand. Both cattle leather and chamois leather was available in Alpine regions. Cows were kept for the milk and making "new cows" and the chamois lived naturally. The chamois leather, although a little thicker, is far more durable, pliable and softer than cattle leather. There were many varied types and grades of leather that were used for Lederhosen. Most lederhosen are made of rough leather looking much like suede. A less common type is leather with a shiny surface. This is a topic we will pursue in greater detail.

Animal Leather

The animal the leather is made of varies: chamois, cow, deer etc. Proper lederhosen were of course made of leather. Some short pants with lederhosen styling have been made with other materials, but real lederhosen are made of leather. The German word comes from "leder" meaning leather and "hosen" meaning pants. The true traditional Lederhosen, however, were primarally made of chamois leather. The chamois is the wild Alpine goat which occurs in the Alpine regions of southern Germany, Austria, northern Italy, and Switzerland. The short, smooth summer coat is overall tawny or reddish-brown. It becomes white in winter and chocolate brown in summer. The wild chamois herds during the summer wander Alpine meadows above 1800 meters. As the weather gets cooler they move to lower altitudes. Until the 1930s, most Lederhosen were made from chamois, but as Lederhosen increased in popularity, cow leather had to be used to meet demand. Both cattle leather and chamois leather was available in Alpine regions. Cows were kept for the milk and making "new cows" and the chamois lived naturally. The chamois leather, although a little thicker, is far more durable, pliable and softer than cattle leather. Nowadays you can't buy new Lederhosen made of chamois Leather in Germany nor in Austria, because those animals are protected in both countries. That's not the case in Northern Italy, where you can actually eat chamois meat in restaurants in the Alpine villages and find crafts made of chamois leather. An austrian reader tells us that she did not see Lederhosen when she visited , but again those trousers are not worn in Northern Italy).

Leather Grades

There were many varied types and grades of leather that were used. HBC at this time has very little information about the leather used for lederhosen. HBC has very little information about the leather used for lederhosen. We have noticed two major types. There are two types of leather: 1) glattleder (vollrind): smooth finished leather and 2) rindkernvelour (raw inner side of leather), also called suede in English. The animal the leather is made of varies: cow, deer etc. This is a topic we will persue in greater detail. We do not know many basic facts about the two types such as popularity, conventions, practicality, chrnology, and other trends. There were many varied types and grades of leather that were used for Lederhosen. Most lederhosen are made of rough leather looking much like suede. A less common type is leather with a shiny surface.

Buttons

The buttons and the central ornament on the breast part of the halter were usually made from deer antlers. The button were cut as slices of the stem part of the antler, keeping the dark natural ornamentation along the perimeter of the button. The holes were not round, but two slots to allow a stripe of leather to secure the button.

Characteristic of Lederhosen

Proper lederhosen were of course made of leather. Some shortpants with lederhosen styling have been made with other materials, but real lederhosen are made of leather. The German word comes from "leder" meaning leather and "hosen" meaning pants.

Types

We have noticed, however, two major types. There are two types of leather:

Smooth Finish (Glattleder/Vollrind)

One type of lederhosen are glattleder (vollrind): smooth finished leather.

Suede (Rindkernvelour)

The other major type of lederhosen are "rindkernvelour" (raw inner side of leather), also called suede in English. Suede is leather that has been finished on the inside or flesh side with a soft napped finish. The outer side can be used for suede if a thin outer layer is removed.

Popularity

We do not know many basic facts about the two types such as which were more popular.


Figure 2.--Here is apair of suede (rindkernvelour) lederhosen withy a double zip front.

Conventions

We also do not know if there were conventions associated with these differnt types of lederhosen. Was one type more suitable for casual play and the other used more when dressing up. Was one type used more by Scouts?

Practicality

We also do not know if one type was more practical and thus better suited for camping and Scouting.

Chronology

Nor do we know how the chronology of these different types varied. It seems as those the suede type appeared first, but this is just speculation at this time.







HBC






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Created: December 27, 1998
Last updated: 11:10 PM 6/2/2011