Kangaroo Manufacture

Kangaroo leather started to be used commercially in 1805 and was, originally at least, purely a cheaper substitute for kid leather. As time progressed the manufacturers realised just how versatile and desirable Kangaroo leather was. At around this time, it was used by prison convicts making shoes for retail. It was soon discovered that because of the properties of this particular leather, finer boots, gloves and sporting goods could be made using this material.  By the 19th Centuries there were many tanneries that were used purely to process and manufacture Kangaroo leather. Its popularity rose exponentially and it was estimated that around 80% of the kangaroo leather produced was imported all over the world.

Kangaroo leather is so desirable because the hide has no fat on it, there are no sweat glands in the skin and elastin is evenly distributed throughout it. This means that it is much easier to produce an evenly surfaced, there is not reduction in strength over the ‘imperfections’ and it has a very high tensile strength.

In Australia Kangaroos have never been farmed for their hides and are usually from wild free-ranging animals. They are protected by hunting laws to eliminate the possibility of extinction. The hides are usually a by-product of the meat industry which reduces the amount of waste produced. Kangaroo production is one of the most sustainable and humane.

Properties of Kangaroo

  • Strongest lightweight leather in the world
  • Flexible
  • Durable
  • Has a softly-milled grain surface
  • Good tear resistance
  • Abrasion resistant
  • Thin
  • Versatile
  • Even thickness
  • Less Imperfections means less waste

Uses of Kangaroo in Fashion Past and Present

  • Footwear. 50% of all the Kangaroo leather that is produced is used for shoes
  • Jackets
  • Accessories
  • Gloves
  • Wallets
  • Bags
  • Purses
  • Garments
  • Moccasins
  • Hats
  • Motorbike Leathers
  • Military Boots

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Written by Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell, extremely competent and reliable, she is currently in her third year at the University of Lincoln UK, studying Fashion. Kelly is responsible for the Fabrics, Fibers and Leathers sections of our Dictionary

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