Deerskin was originally traded between Europens and the Native Americans. It wasn’t as lucrative as the trading of Beaver skin because it wasn’t as valuable or used as frequently in Beaver. When the Beaver trade declined, Deerskin really took off. This was mainly because of the changing fashions in London, which called for a new type of hat made from a different material. This was leather made from Deerskin.
It was mainly the Cherokee tribes that traded Deerskin. They mainly traded with the French and the Spanish, until around 1750 when the Deer population was driven to near extinction.
Another reason for the massive increase in Deerskin used during this time is because between 1709 and 1720 there was a plague that affected cattle in Europe. England banned the importation of any cattle at this time. One of the largest areas that was affected was the leather industry. The major shortages in cattle hide meant that the Leather industry was forced to look into less traditional forms of leather and colonial deerskins were used frequently.
Properties of Deerskin
- Comfortable to wear
- Shapes itself to the wear
- Naturally water-repellent
- Good abrasion resistance
- Comfortable over a wide range of temperatures – cool in warm weather and warm in colder weather
- Shrink Resistan
- More versatile than cowhide
- Difficult to clean
Uses of Deerskin in Fashion Past and Present
- Motorcycle gloves
- Originally used by the native Americans to make clothing and moccasins
- Footwear as it moulds to the foot, alleviating any badly-fitting shoes problems
- Shoes, Boots and Slippers
- Leather purses
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